Why Are You Taking My Picture?


Arianna Marsden, RDH

Why Are You Taking My Picture In a Dental Office?

When you come into one of our offices for your first visit, we’ll likely complete a comprehensive exam for you.  As part of the comprehensive exam, our team assesses your teeth, gums, risks for oral cancer, dietary health, and makes recommendations for how to relieve pain, treat active tooth decay and gum diseases, and to improve your general and oral health.  The assessments we complete normally include a full-mouth series of radiographs, or x-rays, a thorough assessment of the health of your soft tissues, including pocket depths, bone loss, inflammation, and recession by your dental hygienist, and a thorough examination of the hard tissues by your dentist.  One important part of our comprehensive assessment, which you may not expect, is a series of photographs.

Normally, we take a series of photos as a record of how your teeth look, and how the lips drape over the teeth when you smile and at rest.  These photos allow us to show you your teeth in a way you’ve never seen them before; they are the most powerful tool we can offer you in making educated, informed decisions about your own dental health.  With these photos, you will be able to see every surface of every tooth, the condition of the gums, any teeth that are wearing or shifting, producing chipped or broken teeth, or unhealthy spacing or crowding of your teeth.  Zoomed-in intraoral photos can also help you to really see conditions that the clinical team identifies in your mouth, such as a filling that is leaking or has created fracture lines in your tooth.

As clinicians, we are concerned about your overall health, and we know that a big contributor to that is the health of your mouth.  We keep meticulous records of the conditions of your mouth, and treatments that have been recommended to achieve and maintain a healthy mouth.  Our records often include detailed written chart notes, but as the old adage states, a picture is worth a thousand words!  With these images, your clinical team can recall and understand what treatment was recommended and why, without digging through chart notes.   These photos also allow us to evaluate the quality of our work, often through before and after photos of a tooth that is being restored, or following a cleaning.   

Providing digital photography is just one of many techniques we utilize to comprehensively assess the health of your mouth, and to involve you in the process of making informed decisions about your dental health!

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