Why Dentists take Intra-Oral Photos

on November 20, 2013

At our Evanston dental office we practice evidence based dentistry. This means that when our dentists recommend treatment, they are recommending it based on actual evidence. One of the best tools we have for showing our patients their evidence is intra-oral photos.


What are Intra-Oral Photos

Intra-oral photos are photos that are taken of your teeth, gums and oral tissue. These photos may be of a single tooth, a group of teeth, or any area of your mouth. At our office, photos are taken with a small, high quality digital camera that moves comfortably within your mouth. As the photos are extremely close, our Schick camera has a fixed focal range to ensure a crisp, clear photo.

Creating a Baseline

Taking intra-oral photos helps our doctors and clinicians establish a baseline for all of the dental conditions in your mouth. We are able to monitor any recession or suspicious lesions that you may have in your mouth to discover if these conditions are getting better or worse.


When we refer a patient to a specialist, we often send the corresponding intra-oral photos to the specialist ahead of time. This allows the doctors to see what our Evanston dentists saw when you were in our office. In this case, it supplies a baseline for our referring doctors to reference when you visit their office.

Another way we use intra-oral photos is for insurance purposes. Often insurance companies ask for supporting documents to help them identify the need for treatment. The most commonly requested documents are x-rays, but we often send intra-oral photos to help support the diagnosis as well. The intra-oral photos allow the dentists and doctors that review the information for the insurance company to get a better look at the conditions of your mouth.

Helping Diagnose

With the intra-oral camera, our Evanston dentists and clinicians are able to take close up photos of your teeth from angles that they would not normally be able to see. This helps them diagnose conditions more accurately. In some cases, the condition may have shown up on an x-ray, but in other cases (specifically fractures,) it is not as readily apparent.


The most important reason we take intra-oral photos is for you. Often you can’t see what the conditions are in your mouth. By taking the intra-oral photos, we are able to show you what we see and let you know your best treatment options. Intra-oral photos are also helpful to our hygienists. They are able to show you what they see, especially if they find an area of your mouth where there is a larger amount of tartar. This may indicate that you need to brush or floss more in one area of your mouth. Your hygienist will use intra-oral photos they have taken to help you maximize your home care.

Our staff is committed to helping you keep your smile healthy and intra-oral photos are one of the most useful tools we have. As one of our doctors says, his “photographic memory is much better with photos to back it up.” Taking intra-oral photos creates a complete picture of the condition of your mouth and helps us provide you with the best that dentistry has to offer.

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