Should photographs be part of routine dental exams?They show cracks that dentist can't see, but he won't photograph all my teeth

I had a crack in tooth 5 that required root canal and crown. About a year before it was found, I had occasional pain when I bit down, but dismissed it because it was fleeting and rare. I saw my dentist 1 or 2 times and the hygienist 3 or 4 times, and they didn't see the crack. It got infected, dentist took a picture and was able to see the crack. Photo showed that #4 also had a fissure (asymptomatic) and tiny brown dot. During treatment #4 was found to have a deep cavity.Disaster averted for #4

Doctor Answers 4

Pictures of teeth during routine visits

It is normal for dentists to take X-rays periodically during routine visits. Each state has their own rules on frequency. Photographs are not required by law. Not all cracks will be able to be visualized in a picture. If you are comfortable with your dentist and their diagnostic skills stick with them. if you are not comfortable get another dentist that spends more time with documentation.

Crack, pain, photographs

Dear sheluma:

 Dental diagnosis is typically based on clinical exam along with a radiographic examination, x-rays. Photographs can be a part of of the clinical examination because it is sometimes easier to look at the oral structures on a photograph or a Computer screen.

 In my practice I routinely used my camera to help me in treatment plan and diagnosis. 

The decision to use a camera and photograph work id's a personal one by each dentist.

 If your dentist photographed your teeth before, I see no reason why he cannot do it again. You should just ask.

It is same as using a CT scanner or any other technology.   The technology is not as important as the dentist using it.

Best of luck,

Dental exam

Hi, thanks for write... Absolutely, the photographics are very important for better diagnosis, clinical evaluation, x rays and photos. Good luck. 

Jepssy Beltre, DDS DDSC
Dominican Republic Dentist
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Photographing teeth ... #DrSarahThompson

It is not routine to photograph every single tooth with a camera.  The dental version of photographing every tooth is taking an x-ray of every tooth.  X-rays are the primary way that cavities and fractures are diagnosed.  Occasionally, something that is not present in an x-ray may be present in a photograph.  However, photographing every single tooth for every single patient is not possible for most dental offices.  Good luck and I hope this helps.  You can follow me on RealSelf if you have more questions.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.