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Dentistry and All Its Glory

Jun 22, 2008
The most well-known of the camera systems and the first that was introduced in the market were the fiber optic systems. They use very high-end optical systems in producing the best image quality. The light source if found in a separate box and fiber optic cable is attached from the box to the handpiece. Initially, these were the only intraoral camera systems available. Some dental offices do not consider these cameras to be viable because they find the camera and light source quite heavy and harder to move from one operatory to another. Being heavy, they sometimes use a cart to hold all the components. To be more useful, a docking station was placed in each operatory.

The problem of having to move fiber optic cameras brought about the development of USB camera systems. These cameras are lightweight with the light source being built into the handpiece and is made up of a ring of lights around the lens. This makes the camera extremely portable and which you can carry along with you. They use standard USB connections which can be easily attached to any computer. However, one of the flaws of this kind is its small lens and the LED lights. Dentists think that the image quality of these cameras is not ideal for diagnostic purposes - locating a fracture or canals for endo procedures.

Intraoral cameras sees the diving cost of the extraoral digital cameras as its biggest competition. The quality of these extraoral camera's image is ideally far better than any intraoral camera - resolution is higher and the shutter speed is a bit faster. But the main advantage of intraoral cameras is ease of use and shorter time to see the image. You can have an image on the screen a few seconds after getting the hardpiece. For digital extraoral cameras, you have to switch on the camera, use retractors or mirrors, and frame the shot, shoot the picture, and download the image into the software.

The dentist faces a dilemma of whether to buy image management software from the practice management software company or to invest in a third party product. PMS companies have added imaging suites to what they offer. The programs are fully integrated in the PMS software makes the dentist think that they are using the same program but in reality the databases are separate. This function of storing image in separate database is sensible specially when the dentist decides to change to another program in the future. It's best to have the same company handle everything about the software. The patient chart and the image's thumbnail can be viewed at the same time which is not possible with a third party program.

Digital systems determine which systems are compatible, how the system works with dental practice management program, and the day-to-day experience with the digital systems. Digital systems software allows the taking and basic manipulation of images, dentists would want to link the images to the patient's data without retyping the patient's information when taking images. Image management software is designed to serve a host of functions such as allowing an easy method of taking, organizing, and manipulating images; bridging to the patient record, it allows data exchange without retyping and; and acts as a central database for all images - digital X - rays, intraoral camera images, and scanned photos.
About the Author
Jon Caldwell is a professional content manager. Much of his articles can be found at http://thedigitaldentist.net
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