Dental Intraoral Camera — How It Works

dental intraoral camera favorite plusDental intraoral cameras are tools used to boost case acceptance and patient awareness. An intraoral camera allows dentists to capture and display digital images from inside a patient’s mouth. They are a valuable piece of equipment for case documentation and patient education.

Most intraoral cameras are portable. It connects to the computer via a docking station or USB. Usually equipped with LEDs, dental IOCs can capture images without the need for external lighting.

Because patients do not always accept treatment they cannot understand, a dental IOC enables them to see what the dentist sees. Dental issues, such as a fractured tooth, become more visible when magnified on a computer monitor or TV screen.


Improvements in IOCs

At present, it has become easier for anyone to take good pictures because of the improvements in autofocus technology. For the camera lens to auto-adjust to the shutter speed, a series of sensors evaluate the condition. It then quickly adjusts the camera settings to the right focus.

These sensors come in two varieties, active and passive. Active sensors send a signal to the other part of the camera. It may request for more light or a change in distance to the subject. Passive sensors advise the lens how long the opening that lets in light (aperture) must stay open. Essentially, the less light there is available, the longer the aperture remains open, allowing more light to reach the captured image.

In less than a second, the sensors read all the data about the subject of the photograph and relay it to the camera. The camera then makes a small change in the focusing distance. The sensors read the image and see how much, if any, the focus has improved. The process repeats until the focus is clear, all taking less time than it does to press a button.


Reasons why a camera could not focus:

1.) Not enough light

2.) Not enough contrast between the primary subject and the background

3.) Moving subject

All three of these factors can be a problem, even with dental intra oral cameras.


The goal of auto-focusing cameras has always been to create a camera that focuses quickly like the human eye. The newest generation of intra oral cameras features more sensors. The dentist can just aim at what they want to see, and the camera will do the rest.

For generations, dentists have been trying to explain to patients what they see and what it means. With dental intraoral cameras, patients can see in real time what the dentist sees. 


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