A picture is worth 1,000 words …and a 35% increase in case acceptance!
Intraoral cameras (IOC) are a powerful tool for increasing a patient’s acceptance of treatment. The images captured by intraoral cameras have been shown to increase case acceptance by as much as 35%…without saying a word!
Intraoral images are powerful because of the many things they achieve, they:
- enhance visibility; images are magnified
- enrich patient education and facilitate co-diagnosis; the patient can see what the clinician sees
- provide documentation for insurance claims and reimbursement
- serve as an aid in communication with laboratories and specialists
For a practice to be most effective in the use of intraoral cameras, a protocol needs to be established. Otherwise, it’s like having a goal without a strategy or pathway to get there. Without an implementation plan, many practices see an initial spike in usage followed by a steady decline. Although clinicians may think they use intraoral cameras frequently, the patient perception is that technology only exists if they personally see it in action! Make sure every patient has an opportunity to experience the technology you provide.
Consider using the following protocols in your practice for the use of the intraoral cameras:
- New Patients—In order to engage the patient and show images related to treatment options, take images of:
- the patient’s smile
- the lower lingual anterior teeth
- each quadrant and any area of note
- Crown/Bridge/Veneers—Take images at the time of diagnosis and prior to prep. Submitting images to document fractures, missing tooth structure or visible decay is also beneficial for insurance reimbursement, as are radiographic images and a written narrative.
- Specialist Referrals—Share with specialists, images provide a means to communicate effectively.
- Laboratory Communication—Send images to the lab to provide a wealth of information necessary for them to provide optimal esthetics such as gingival character, shade and color.
- Recare/LOE—To expedite the appointment and allow the patient an opportunity to “see” areas of concern, take images of:
- worn fillings
- class V erosion
- visible decay
- chipped or broken teeth
- calculus during recare and emergency appointments
- Core Buildup—Take an image after the prep and before and after the buildup. These images coupled with radiographs and a narrative will enable faster and more consistent insurance reimbursement. Note the percentage of missing tooth structure in your narrative. Many insurance plans require 50% or more of the tooth to be missing for reimbursement for a buildup claim.
When possible, share the intraoral images with patients before the dentist enters the operatory; this can be done by the assistant or hygienist. It allows time for the patient to process, ask questions and take ownership of their condition while creating a codiagnosis approach.
Historical images of an area captured over time help tell a story of improvement or decline to further educate and motivate patients. By the time the dentist enters the operatory, the patient will be ready to discuss options. These small steps lead to a more efficient appointment and higher case acceptance rates.
An image is worth a thousand words and that is particularly evident in dentistry.
Providing patients with their images, sets the stage for collaborative communication that builds trust and loyalty, giving rise to higher case acceptance rates. Burkhart’s Practice Support Team is available to help you succeed. Reach out to your Account Manager for more information.
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