Improved communication improves patient satisfaction, but the patient must have a good experience!
In this post, we will share feedback from dental camera users and from patients to help you create a comfortable experience:
- Choose the right equipment.
- Introduce dental photography with an example.
- Ask for consent.
- Prepare the equipment.
- Size the equipment correctly.
- Monitor the patient's comfort.
- Show and share the results.
- Help the patient to make good decisions.
Choose the right equipment.
Use a small, non-interruptive Full HD or 4K medical camera for best results and a minimally disruptive photography process.
See the Part 1 - Equipment blog post for more equipment ideas.
Introduce dental photography with an example.
The Futudent recording software gallery lets you save images and videos. You can create examples and take a moment to show patients what to expect before starting treatment.
There is no pain or side effect involved with an extra-oral camera. Non-interruptive cameras are always on and handsfree for anytime use during the treatment. The patient may not even realise photos are being taken during a procedure!
Patient distress during oral health photos comes from a sense of no control, embarrassment, and the discomfort of too large equipment digging in to oral tissues, pulling cheeks or cracking lips. It’s best to warn patients of the possible discomfort before beginning.
Tip: Patients have reported being afraid to put a mirror in their mouth because the mirror is large and may break. Explain that the mirror is safe to use and that different sizes are available.
Ask for consent (check your local laws).
Patient consent is required for taking dental photography. This consent may be a part of your clinic’s new-patient induction process, or it may be done later. Novocam Medical Innovations Oy has provided a sample consent form that you may download from the website and translate for your clinic.
Tip: When a child reaches the local age of consent (13-18 years old depending on your location), they must specifically give their consent for photos and personal information to used. This is a great opportunity to establish the person as a “new client” in their own right!
Prepare the equipment.
Mirrors and contrastors require sterilization between patients and must be kept in a clean, close location.
Cold mirrors fog up when the patient breaths hot, humid air over the cold mirror surface. Warming mirrors to body temperature reduces the fog effect and gives you several minutes to take photos.
Warming techniques include running the mirror under warm water, an electric mirror heater or a heating pad with a low temperature setting. You may also try treating the mirror with a commercial anti-fogging solution or a gauze dipped in mouthwash.
Tip: Always check the mirror temperature before use, especially if you use mirrors with handles and do not directly feel the surface temperature!
Size the equipment correctly.
Mirrors and retractors come in small, medium and large sizes. Oral cavity size does not correspond to age or body size, so keep a selection of equipment ready for each patient.
Tip: Some patient report feeling sick and have trouble breathing when retractors and mirrors are in their mouth. This leads to panic. Help the patient by reminding them to breath through their nose.
Monitor the patient’s comfort.
If you are using a non interruptive camera during treatment to record key moments or home-care instructions, the patient may not even notice you photographing.
If you are staging oral health photos and a patient visibly reacts to equipment, it’s best to acknowledge the discomfort and to reassure them that the discomfort will not get worse. If possible, select a smaller size mirror or retractor.
Tip: Over use of air to dry the mirror surface can dry the oral mucosa and lead to sensitivity. If the mirror is continually fogging, try warming it or using an anti-fog treatment.
Show and share the results.
The best way to ensure patient satisfaction is to share your photos and videos!
Compare invasive x-rays, 3D scans and real photos side by side so the patient can visualize where the problems are and what they look like on the inside and outside.
If oral health at home is an issue, create a short home-care instruction during treatment, and send to the client by e-mail. This feature is available in the futudent recording software.
- Baldini, A., Çifter, M. (2018). A Qualitative Analysis of Dental Photography in Orthodontics: The Patient’s Perspective. BioMed Research International, 2018/07/30, 2314-6133, https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/5418592
- https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/5418592/ - Patient experience and tips and tricks to make dental photography a pleasant experience.
- Subramanian, A.K. (2020). Patient’s perspective about the photographs taken during the orthodontic therapy for documentation. Test Engineering & Management, March-April 2020, Volume 83, 26294 – 26306, Retrieved from ResearchGate.