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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-7
Evaluation of dental photography among dental professionals

1 Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Vishnu Dental College, Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Vishnu Dental College, Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Departments of Oral Medicine and Radiology, St. Joseph Dental College and Hospital, Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, India
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Hi-tech Dental College, Bhubaneswar, India
5 Departments of Preventive and Community Dentistry, St. Joseph Dental College and Hospital, Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Date of Web Publication17-Oct-2014


Background: Photography often represents the best method to collect and preserve evidences. The attention towards the advanced photographic presentation in dentistry has increased significantly over the past several decades. Advancements in technology, computers, the internet, and communication systems have greatly affected and shaped modern society.
Aims and objectives: The present study was conducted to assess the awareness of digital photography among randomly selected academicians, practioners and both academicians and practioners.
Materials and Methods: 250 dentists were included in the study and each was given a set of questionnaires. All the answers were marked as positive and negative and the data were tabulated and statistically analyzed.
Results: The mean and standard deviation of the positive and negative responses were 6.18 ± 1.33 and among the subjects; the practioners showed the highest positive response of 100%.
Conclusion: Combining a passion for photography with a dedication to dentistry leads to successfully record patient cases so as to have a better proposition in teaching, motivation, treatment and follow up.

Keywords: Academicians, dentistry, photography, practioners, research

How to cite this article:
Reddy SP, Kashyap B, Sudhakar S, Guru JR, Nalini P. Evaluation of dental photography among dental professionals . J Educ Ethics Dent 2014;4:4-7

How to cite this URL:
Reddy SP, Kashyap B, Sudhakar S, Guru JR, Nalini P. Evaluation of dental photography among dental professionals . J Educ Ethics Dent [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jun 5];4:4-7. Available from: http://www.jeed.in/text.asp?2014/4/1/4/143147

   Introduction Top

In recent years, the esthetic awareness of both patients and dentists has been heightened. Cosmetic dentistry has taken great strides forward. As appearance has become more important, the photographic recording and evaluation of dental procedures have come to be regarded as part of the practitioner's armamentarium. [1],[2]

The first process of photography was presented to the world by Louis J. M. Daguerre at the Paris Academy of Sciences on 7 January 1839. [2] In that same year, Alexander S. Wolcott, a manufacturer of dental instruments from New York, designed and patented the first camera from the Daguerre concept. This camera used a concave mirror to form an image on a photographic plate. These early photographs were called "daguerreotype" after their inventor and were a one-of-a-kind image on a silver-coated copper plate. [3] The "photographic phenomena" introduced a new era of objectively reproducing and recording visual dental images. This new era observed the inception of the world's first dental journal, the American Journal of Dental Science, and, for the first time in literature, preoperative and postoperative photographs were published by Thompson and Ide. [4]

Photography often represents the best method to collect and preserve evidence in day-to-day practice, institutional cases and forensic cases. Dental photographs are important in recording and comparing the pre- and post-treated cases. Recent advances in the digital photography provide the dentist to carefully study the patient′s dental patterns and plan treatment, in the absence of the patient. The use of digital photography is becoming a standard of care for today's modern dental practices through photographic documentation of clinical findings before initiating any treatment. [5],[6] The aim of this survey was to create, access and evaluate the awareness of digital dental photography among dentists.

   Materials and Methods Top

Study sample consists of 250 dentists, of whom 68 were purely academicians, 72 were purely clinicians, and rest 110 were both clinicians and academicians. Questionnaires were prepared and distributed among the study groups. All the answers were analyzed as positive and negative responses. The data were collected and chi-square and ANOVA tests were performed.

The questionnaires involved the following questions:

  1. Do you use camera in clinics? Yes/No
  2. Do you use camera for taking photographs of the patients? Yes/No
  3. Do you use for all of your cases? Yes/No
  4. What type of cases do you record?
    1. Forensic cases
    2. Lesional cases
    3. Cosmetic cases
    4. All of the above
    5. None of the above
  5. Do you think these photographs are important for both patient and doctor? Yes/No
  6. Do these photographs help you to maintain records? Yes/No
  7. Have you ever come across any abuse cases? Yes/No
  8. Have such cases of abuse helped you in solving dento-legal cases? Yes/No
  9. Who is benefited with these photographs?
    1. Academicians
    2. Practioners
    3. Both
    4. Patients
    5. None of the above
  10. How do you grade digital photography?
    1. Excellent
    2. Good
    3. No response

   Results Top

The overall positive response from academicians, practioners and both were observed to be 96.8% with practioners presenting 100% positive response [Table 1].
Table 1: Response pattern for use of digital photography in dentistry (Positive responses only)

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The outcome responses to the individual questionnaires were very striking between the subjects. 100% response was admitted by the practioners for using the camera on the patients in clinic when compared to academicians and both.

To analyze the usage of camera for the different type of cases, variability in response were observed. Academicians showed positivity of 13.2% for the cases important for academic point of view. Practioners positivity was 47.2% and was highest among all even when compared with both (29.2%). P value (<0.001) was significant among groups.

Asking about the abuse cases the responses were negative among all the groups but the significance of such cases in solving the dentolegal cases showed difference in opinion with P value highly significant (P < 0.001).

Overall mean and standard deviation of the positive and negative responses were 6.18 ± 1.33. Of which academicians showed 6.38 ± 0.96, practioners showed 6.11 ± 1.18 and both revealed 6.09 ± 1.58.

   Discussion Top

Photography has been described as "painting with light." Advancements in technology, computers, the internet, and communication systems have greatly affected and shaped modern society. During the past half decade, the dental profession has experienced the growth of a new generation of technologies devoted to the analysis, communication, verification, recording, teaching and clinical recording. [1],[7]

Advances in computing and photography have resulted in the use of the digital camera for color imaging. The digital camera has the capability of recording digital data from an object and subsequently producing an image, which can be viewed on the computer or transmitted via the Internet. [8],[9] Practioners in both general practice and specialty areas have found the pictographic representation of a patient's condition to be of a precious part of the patient's record. [10],[11]

Photographs are an essential part of clinical records for number of reasons which includes:

  1. The digital photography is an invaluable diagnostic tool for pretreatment examination. It provides an instant visualization in the absence of the patient. Also, pretreatment photography is a significant co-diagnostic tool that allows the patient to accept treatment. [12]
  2. Photographic images can convince the patients for better and newer dental procedure and treatment alternatives. Furthermore, this visualization process stimulates patient awareness and involvement, which can advance the clinician/patient relationship. [13],[14]
  3. Periodic photographic details of the ongoing treatment can provide step wise improved visualization of the disease process (i.e., caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis).
  4. Dental instrument photographs and the protocol explaining the clinical procedures will be helpful to teach dental auxiliaries, technicians and the dental undergraduates. Detailed description of the dental diseases, dental procedure, use of newer materials and the advance treatment methods can be discussed through lectures, presentations and publications, by using these photographs. [15]
  5. Dental photographs either color or black and white can be useful for an endodontist, prosthodontist and orthodontist to assess the shade matching, surface texture, microleakage and degree of translucency. It also helps in post-treatment and self-assessment feedback for the laboratory persons, so as to improve and learn the positive and negative results of the cases. [12],[13],[15],[16]
  6. Photographic images document should be maintained for the dento - legal aspect. Potentially legally threatening clinical situations should be photographed, dated, and filed for easy retrieval either in the electronic format or printed hard copies.
  7. Analysis of dental-related trauma (i.e., human bite marks) can provide accuracy and reproducibility of detail through the photography.
  8. Digital images of pre and post treatment can help to expedite authorization for an insurance claim.

Nowadays the accessibility of knowledge to the general public has made the emergence of fraud where the images can be modified to enhance diagnosis and clarity. Such act is mainly due to the availability of image manipulating software's or the internet downloaded pictures. Skilful manipulations are difficult to detect, hence it needs a awareness to identify and acknowledge the altered fraud among practitioners and academicians. Our study has shown better knowledge about photography among academicians and practioners but the difference of views have been observed in the application of photography. [11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17]

In the present study all the subjects were familiar with the usage of digital photography but its application showed difference in knowledge between practioners, academicians and both. Practioners were using camera in clinics for all the cases so as to 1) avoid the post dental problems 2) educate the patient with their own treated cases 3) as a helping hand to solve dento-legal cases 4) for maintaining better patient - doctor relation. Academicians had slight diverse views as they record cases which appear unusual such as large lesion with obvious pathology, syndromic cases and unique finding in non-syndromic patients. These cases aid in teaching and also to build some national and international publication. The academicians and practioners were aware of all the aspects of usage of photography but were reluctant to maintain all the records of patients. Records of specialized/unusual cases were maintained as academic perspective and apart from this several other cases such as cosmetic and forensic were recorded.

By knowing cause and effect of mistakes that occurs, challenges can be handled much more professionally. Technical errors, mistakes in positioning the patient and difficulties in intraoral and children's photography can stay as challenge. Medical progress has always been dependent on an exchange of experiences. Though the modern communication facilitates interdisciplinary discussion we therefore encourage all colleagues to consider investing appropriate time and effort in maintaining the accurate photo-documentation. This together with honesty and adequate data protection helps to progress in our profession which might be accelerated for the benefit of both patients and dental practioners viewpoint.

   Conclusion Top

As the awareness regarding dental treatment is increasing, academicians and practioners are the people who come across many oro - dental cases hence, they must now integrate existing photographic principles with today's contemporary camera systems and computer software technology in recording the cases. By this way dentists can easily diagnose, treat, record, preserve and communicate with patients and colleagues.

   References Top

Terry DA, Snow SR, McLaren EA. Contemporary dental photography: Selection and Application. Compend Contin Educ Dent 2008;29:432-6.   Back to cited text no. 1
Freedman GA. Standardization in dental photography. Compendium 1989;10:682-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kravets TP. Documents on the History of the Invention of Photography. Leningrad, Russia: Soviet Academy of Science; 1949. Archived publication No. 7:360,361,380,388-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Humphrey SD. American Handbook of the Daguerreotype. 5 th ed. New York, NY: Humphrey Publishing; 1858.  Back to cited text no. 4
Hook SA. Early dental journalism: A mirror of the development of dentistry as a profession. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1985;73:345-51.  Back to cited text no. 5
McLaren EA, Terry DA. Photography in dentistry. J Calif Dent Assoc 2001;29:735-42.  Back to cited text no. 6
Snow SR. Dental photography systems: Required features for equipment selection. Compend Contin Educ Dent 2005;26:309-16.  Back to cited text no. 7
Chu SJ, Trushkowsky RD, Paravina RD. Dental color matching instruments and systems. Review of clinical and research aspects. J Dent 2010;38:e2-16.  Back to cited text no. 8
Adeyemi AA, Jarad FD, Pender N, Higham SM. Comparison of quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF) and digital imaging applied for the detection and quantification of staining and stain removal on teeth. J Dent 2006;34:460-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Jarad FD, Russell MD, Moss BW. The use of digital imaging for colour matching and communication in restorative dentistry. Br Dent J 2005;199:43-9.  Back to cited text no. 10
Woodall IR. Comprehensive dental hygiene care. St Louis: CV Mosby; 1993. p. 336-55.  Back to cited text no. 11
Manjunath SG, Ragavendra RT, Setty SK, Jayalakshmi K. Photography in Clinical Dentistry- A Review. Int J Dent Clin 2011;3:40-3.  Back to cited text no. 12
Wright FD, Golden GS. The use of full spectrum digital photography for evidence collection and preservation in cases involving forensic odontology. Forensic Sci Int 2010;201:59-67.  Back to cited text no. 13
Wee AG, Lindsey DT, Kuo S, Johnston WM. Color accuracy of commercial digital cameras for use in dentistry. Dent Mater 2006;22:553-9.  Back to cited text no. 14
Jablonski-Momeni A, Ricketts DN, Stachniss V, Maschka R, Heinzel-Gutenbrunner M, Pieper K. Occlusal caries: Evaluation of direct microscopy versus digital imaging used for two histological classification systems. J Dent 2009;37:204-11.  Back to cited text no. 15
Stumpel LJ 3 rd . Simplifying the correction of the digital image in shade communication. J Prosthet Dent 2004;92:202-3.  Back to cited text no. 16
Rao SA, Singh N, Kumar R, Thomas AM. More than meets the eye: Digital fraud in dentistry. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2010;28:241-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  

Correspondence Address:
Bina Kashyap
House no. 3, Vishnu Green Meadows, Vishnupur, Bhimavaram - 534 202, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.143147

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