The Sacramento Dentistry Group Answers: Why Take Oral Photographs?

It is now fairly common practice for dentists to take x-rays and digital photographs of their patients' teeth. Why do dentists need surface level pictures when they already have sub-surface pictures via x-rays? This article explains the value of digital photography to modern dentists and their patients.

Most patients are used to taking x-rays once a year during a dental exam. It is also common, however, to take digital photographs of a dental client’s teeth. Why do dentists take pictures when they already have x-rays?

It’s In the Details

X-rays are very useful for revealing the things we cannot see with the eye. Slowly growing abscesses, other unexpected growths in the jawbone, and the width of the enamel — these are all revealed with x-rays.  With improvements in digital photography, photographs are also very helpful to reveal fine details from the surface of the teeth. Hairline cracks and tiny cavities, imminent failures in fillings or other restorations, oral cancers developing in the mouth tissues — these are things dentists and hygienists look for with oral photography. Magnifying images by forty or fifty times is possible, giving extreme close-ups for areas of interest.

Patient Education Another Benefit

Sacramento dentists also find that bringing up a picture of a diseased tooth makes it much easier to explain to a patient what is happening, why it likely happened and what needs to be done to fix it. Without an image, some clients unfortunately think the dentist is just trying to bill them for unnecessary treatment. And many insurance companies often have the same sad viewpoint of their clients and the dentist. Therefore, photographs combined with x-rays are a visual demonstration of the condition of the patient’s mouth, as seen by the dentist.

And let’s not forget the value of pictures for “Before and After” photos! When a patient gets orthodontic, restorative or cosmetic care, they enjoy being reminded of what their teeth originally looked like and how much better they appear after their dental procedure. Dentists thoroughly enjoy the smiles on clients’ faces when they see these stunning demonstrations of the value of dentistry to a great smile.

So when you come to the dentist, remember to smile and open wide, because you will probably end up “in pictures.” If you need a dental exam, the Sacramento Dentistry Group can be contacted at or by calling 916-538-6900.

Source: Sacramento Dentistry Group