Dentist Photography Basics

dentist-mold-1510233The first question we should really consider here is why do we use dental or clinical photography? Is it really worth the bother? Well, I definitely think it is.

First of all, photographs can be a very valuable part of your patient record, which can help with medical legal issues. It can help with diagnosis, treatment planning, tooth implants and monitoring. Photographs can be useful for patient education and liaison with other members of the dental team. As a young dentist, it’s great to get stuck in with using a camera as you can start building up a portfolio of all your cases.

The type of camera which is most suitable for this purpose is an SLR; Single Lens Reflex camera. This will give you the best image quality, close focusing ability, best illumination, and manual controls. There are lots of different brands available, but it’s really personal preference. A lot of people will choose common brands such as Cannon or Nikon. As likely it is that someone around you will be able to help you if you need help. Best thing to do is to visit a camera shop and test out the range for yourself.

So, what should be on your shopping list? To start off with, you need a body. Each brand has several SLR bodies available. If dentistry’s your only use, the body doesn’t really matter as long you go for the most affordable. The crucial component is the macro lens. You have a number of fixed focal lens options; 50mm, 60mm, 70mm or 100mm macro lens. Personally, I prefer the 100 as it’s more convenient for close-up shots. Make sure your lens is compatible with the chosen body. The mouth is a very dark place and a flash is imperative. There are two types of flash, a Twin or a Ring Flash, which is what we have here. The ring flash is recommended as it gives you a crisp shadowless image. In fact, the ring flash was invented in 1952 specifically for dental photography. You then need your memory card and spare batteries. At this point you’ve probably spend around a grand or a grand and a half and the bank account may be looking a little empty. However, one additional item that you do need is a good camera bag to look after everything.

Other accessories which may be available to you already are retractors, mirrors, and contrastors. Alternatively, you may want to invest in these too. Retractors can be metal or plastic and can be of various curvatures. Mirrors can be various sizes and shapes, but generally they are either Buccal or Occlusal mirrors. A contrastor is not essential, but if you are doing a lot of aesthetic cases, then it can draw attention to the tooth shape, show translucent incisor wedges, and also remove distractions of the mouth.

So, now we’ve got the kit. Let’s look at the settings. Manual focus is more accurate for macro work. The aperture, also known as the F-number, is the hole in the center of the lens that allows light in and can be varied in size by the operator. A numerically smaller value is the large aperture and it influences the depth of field. As the F-number increases, the depth of field becomes wider. The suggested F-numbers for the various shots are displayed. You should also ISO of 100 or 200, a shutter speed of one over one-sixty, and the white balance should be either automatic or flash.

Okay, so now you’re ready to snap. Take some full-face shots first. Remove any glasses or distracting jewelry. Pick a plain background. Be level with the face and ask the patient to look straight ahead. You may also want to take some natural full-face views. Thereafter, I usually take a natural and a full smile view. Following this are the intraoral shots. This can include: anterior retracted, right and left buccal segments, upper and lower occlusals, and any views of particular areas you may be interested in or that you’re treating.

Okay, I hope that’s enough to get you started. Photography is a skill in itself, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Good luck.

Read Previous Post: “What Do I Do If I Get A Complaint?”

What Do I Do If I Get A Complaint?

dentist complaintsEntering the real world of dentistry following graduation can be a very exciting, yet testing time. After five years of the cozy sheltered hospital environment, seeing patients in practice for the first time can feel like the safety bubble around you has finally popped. One aspect of patient care we may not be so used to dealing with is complaints handling. Unfortunately, with an ever increasing litigious society this is not going to be an uncommon experience.

The GDC refers to dental complaints as, any written or spoken expression of dissatisfaction by a patient about a dental service, whether justified or not.” Most claims and disciplinary inquiries start their life as a simple complaint. Although there is no one single way to handle a complaint, there are ten key steps that should always be considered.

Good communications is crucial throughout the process of complaints handling. Complaints need to be handled with speed and transparency. It’s important to train all those in the dental team who might be involved with the complaints handling process. Untrained staff should then be directed to direct all complaints speedily to the nearest trained complaints handler. Consider a proactive approach to indentifying complaints. The majority of the satisfied patients do not complain at all. The aim is to encourage patients to tell you if they have a problem before they tell somebody else. Early identification of the dissatisfied patient stops them accumulating a store of complaints.

On first receipt of the complaint, you must acknowledge the complaint within three working days of the date it was received. Also, within this period, an offer must be made to discuss the management of the complaint with the patient and the expected timeframes. A patient is more likely to react favorably if they know that the complaint has been accepted and is being dealt with. On your side, make sure you get in touch with a dental legal advisor for further advice if you require it. They are always happy to help you and guide you through the complaint handling process. Identify all parties involved and seek their views fully. Perhaps the greatest error in complaints handling is to provide a detailed response before investigating and gathering the facts. It’s important to remember that any response to a complaint could be read out at a later hearing.

Understandably most people become defensive when they receive a complaint; particularly if they regard it as unreasonable or spurious. Defensiveness can be counterproductive to good complaint handling. When a complaint is received it’s important to consider the desired outcome. Each choice demands a different response. For example, a common error that often results in a counterclaim is the enforcement of a debt when a patient had complained about the quality of the treatment provided. It’s important to remember that saying sorry is not an admission of guilt. Many minor complaints can be resolved on a one-to-one basis. Subsequently, a short letter can be sent to the patient saying that you’re happy that the complaint is now resolved. This sympathetic contact can make a significant difference to your relationship to the patient.

The hardest part of complaints handling is risking further contact with the patient to ensure that the complaint has been satisfactorily resolved. This may or may not be appropriate in all cases, but it can be extremely helpful; particularly when you want to retain the confidence of your patient. It also demonstrates care and consideration. All complaints can teach us something. For future management consider: How the complaint arose? What steps could have been taken to avoid the complaint in the first place? Was the complaint handled effectively? Did the practice or patient achieve the desired outcome?

Unless you’ve had your first letter of complaint yet, it’s hard to describe the feeling you’ll get; especially if it’s an unjustified complaint. I received my first letter midway through my first year in practice. My heart sank upon reading the lines. At first it was demoralizing and the stress of handling the complaint affected my work and personal life. However, although it was an unpleasant and disheartening experience, especially so early in my career. I swiftly decided to use the complaint positively and handle it according to the current requirements. Support of your peers and colleagues is invaluable during these times. Moreover, yearly indemnity fees surely felt worthwhile. Through this experience I realized that even the most careful dentists do receive complaints.

As a young dentist there is a higher risk of complaints and handling them effectively is crucial. Complaints are a highly valuable measure of feedback that can help to improve yourself and the service provided. Furthermore, research has shown that when a complaint is handled effectively the loyalty of your patient is usually strengthened.

How to Select the Best Endodontist

An endodontist is a dental expert involved in carrying out diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the dental pulp, especially the root canals. In case you are refereed to this professional for a root canal, then it means that the pulp or inner material inside your teeth is affected. In order to ensure that you get the best dental services; you do not have to go to any professional. You need to select the one who you can be assured of getting the best treatment to avoid further complications. This article offers you some of the things you need to consider during the selection.

dental care

Certification and training

All endodontists must have high level qualifications from highly reputable dental school. They are required to get additional training in order to gain more knowledge and skills to carry out effective root canals. In addition, a good endodontist should get training in advanced technology like digital imaging. You should only work with a professional who is ready to answer all questions regarding his or her training and education. In addition, they will show you all their qualifications and accreditation documents from the relevant boards. This will offer you a guarantee that you will receive the best services that will solve your problem permanently.

Services provided

Despite that endodontists carry out root canals, it is good to ask the practitioner if they can carry out others services too. For instance, he or she might also be able to provide emergency services for cracked teeth and traumatic injuries. It is necessary that you work with a professional who has the ability to offer other dental care services so that you avoid working with different professionals for your dental problem.

How comfortable do you feel with the professional?

This is a question that you need to ask yourself because for you to get the best services and results, you need to work with an endodontist whom you feel comfortable. As you do the consultations check whether the professional is treating you with the respect and courtesy you deserve. If he or she has staff members, check whether they conduct themselves in a professional manner. In addition, you should make sure that the professional shows high level commitment and dedication to help solve your problem.

Bottom line

Despite that you might be in a hurry, it is good to take your time during the sekection process to avoid making mistakes that you might live to regret at the end.