Instant Photography
is the Key

How often during a physical examination have you noticed inflammation, swelling, and calculus at the gingival margins consistent with grade two or three periodontal disease? What do you do? Does that voice in back of your head start rationalizing its only a little inflammation and the patient is in for a skin problem anyway, or are you convinced that your patient really needs prompt dental care, since untreated gingivitis can progress to supporting bone destruction, tooth loss and a myriad of internal medical ailments. Although your client is advised to return for treatment, with only a brief discussion, many will fall through the cracks and needed dental therapy is not performed.

What happens to this consumer? Does the pet owner care that bacteria is reproducing below the gingiva, producing by-products that in time will cause liver and kidney problems as well as destroy their petís periodontium? They do not see the inflammation because lips cover disease. Out of sight, out of mind. When they reveal your recommended dental treatment plan to the rest of the family, the obvious reply is why, Rover is eating great.
Most owners care deeply for their pets and want existing problems treated. How do you get the owner involved in dentistry? How can you have your clients better appreciate the gravity of the condition and potential complications for non-compliance? Let them see their petís oral problems. Use an enlarged instant picture!

Intraoral instant photography is the key to getting your client into their petís mouths. Not only do pictures represent the animalís problem, they also allow you to speak about therapy using their pathology to refer to, rather than struggling with the petís poorly illuminated oral cavity. Take a close-up picture of any dog or cat with dental pathology. Even minor cases of gingivitis will show hyperemia at the gingival margin. Once the picture develops, compare it with the textbook representation of disease. This helps confirm that their petís lesion is a real problem that needs care. A customized handout for the commonly diagnosed dental conditions completes the presentation.

Intraoral instant cameras are available through the Lester Dine company in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (800-624-9103). There are two popular models to choose from: The Macro 5 SLRV which has five built-in enlargement options, and the less expensive Dine Instant Veterinary Close-up Kit (model A1V) which comes with attachable close up lenses.

We use a slide duplicator that produces enlarged instant pictures to show clients and referring veterinarians close-ups of dental radiographs. The non-screened film is placed in a slide holder and inserted into the slide duplicator. A 3X enlargement is delivered about one minute later. You will find it easier showing clients dental lesions from a magnified picture of the radiograph compared to the small dental film.

Providing the patient with before and after photographs when therapy is completed gives an accurate, readily comprehensible and visually impacting documentation of your skills. Leave one set in the medical record and give one to your client to show those at home. A third set is made for a smile book to show others. Unfortunately, sometimes, needed dental care is not performed because owners do not realize the urgency. If the client chooses not to agree to the recommended therapy in the exam room, tell them to post the picture on their refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Most eventually return for therapy.
Close-up photography will give your client, your patient, and your practice instant gratification while at the same time providing more accurate visual records for your hospital chart. Everyone wins!


This page last updated on March 08, 2001
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Jan Bellows, DVM
All Pets Dental Clinic
17100 Royal Palm Blvd.
Weston, FL 33326
(954) 349-5800