Intraoral Camera Integration
“Larger than Life Dentistry”
An intraoral camera is a powerful tool used to raise the oral health awareness of patients. Integrating intraoral cameras allow patients to “see” what clinicians look at when making diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Patients can co-diagnose and feel ownership for their condition leading to greater case acceptance. As with all new technology, an integration plan is necessary to successfully implement intraoral camera use. Without an integration plan, many practices see an initial spike in usage and then a steady decline.
The camera should be housed in a convenient location for each operatory that will share it. Better yet, make it a goal to have cameras in each op. Readily accessible technology will be used more often.
The intraoral camera can serve several purposes:
- Enhanced patient education
- Enhanced visibility for the clinician
- Documentation for insurance claims
- Communication with specialists
To meet the objectives above, consider implementing the following protocols in your practice when using the intraoral camera:
A. New Patients
New patients must understand your practice offers a high level of technology. Taking intraoral images will help engage the patient as you discuss treatment options. We recommend a full tour of the mouth, including:
- Lingual of the lower anterior teeth
- An intraoral image in each quadrant
- Additional image(s) of noteworthy findings
B. Crown/Bridge/Veneer Diagnosis
Submit an intraoral image to document fractures, missing tooth structure, and signs of decay when filing insurance claims for crowns, bridges, and veneers. We recommend images for all crown/bridge/veneer diagnoses at the time of diagnosis or before the prep.
C. Referrals to Specialists
Integrate a protocol to take intraoral images to communicate effectively with specialists based on your practice needs.
D. Recare and Emergency Exam Diagnosis
For routine diagnosis, the intraoral camera can help educate patients and enhance case acceptance. During recare exams, plan to take IO images of the following, when applicable:
- Worn fillings
- Class V erosion
- Chipped/broken teeth
- Visible decay
- Hard to see areas for the Doctor
- Calculus (this is helpful to explain periodontal therapy (SRP) diagnosis
E. Core Buildup
A core buildup may be reimbursed by insurance when you can prove the necessity. An intraoral image, taken after the prep and before the buildup, coupled with the radiological image(s) and a narrative for placement is advisable. Note, it is beneficial to list the percentage of tooth structure missing before buildup placement in the narrative. Some payers require 50%+ of the tooth to be missing for reimbursement. An intraoral photo, taken after the prep, helps to confirm the need for the buildup.
A Few Other Notes on Integrating Intraoral Cameras
Care should be taken to share the intraoral images with patients before the Dentist enters the op, when possible. This allows patients time to orient themselves and process the information to be better prepared to ask questions and understand their oral health needs.
Studies consistently show an increase in case acceptance by 30-35% when an intraoral camera was used during diagnosis and treatment planning.
Insurance companies can process claims and pre-determinations more effectively if you attach images to the claim.