Dentistry relies on imaging. Radiographs, cone beams, 3D scans, and intraoral photos are all part of clinical workflows. It’s typical for some of these to be billed, but not intraoral photos. Why is that? Intraoral cameras are powerful tools that enable dental professionals to transform complex dental terminology into clear, easy-to-understand images for patients. One photo can completely change how a patient views their oral health—and their treatment needs. Why aren’t dental practices charging for intraoral photography?
“Don’t trip over dollars trying to pick up pennies.”
We asked 3 dental professionals using MouthWatch intraoral cameras their thoughts on why practices in general don’t charge for intraoral images:
“We don’t charge for intraoral images. We use them to communicate a patient’s findings with them, during procedures to show decay/clean tooth/gum inflammation, before and after a restoration, and with insurance companies to reduce denials. I can see why some would charge for them, they do require in-office time to capture and it’s another record to maintain of the patients, but it makes my job easier. Don’t trip over dollars trying to pick up pennies.”– Monica Patel, DMD & Sameer Kashyap, DMD
“I use intraoral photography as an educational tool for families so they can truly see what is happening in real time. I wouldn’t pass along a cost to my patients as it is an optional tool that I use for ease of explanation and education. It isn’t a “procedure” in my mind like it would be in orthodontics where they use images to diagnose and create a treatment plan – it’s an adjunctive tool used for my benefit and something I use at my practice when I want to “watch” something.”– Yoshita Patel Hosking, DDS, MPH
“If I had to have my patients pay for the pictures 100% out of pocket, then no. Mouthwatch has made the intraoral camera affordable. I tell my team all the time “it’s just electrons”. A photo occupies minimal disc space and takes only seconds and a camera sleeve to accomplish.”– John Flucke, DDS
Small Investment, Big Returns
Between the built-in return on investment and improved patient experience, intraoral cameras are a valuable tool for any dental practice. As Dr. John Flucke, DDS said, “intraoral photos occupy minimal disc space and take only seconds and a camera sleeve to accomplish.” With intraoral photos only costing dental professionals a small portion of space on their computer and a camera sleeve, dental professionals can see increases in case acceptance and better oral and systemic health outcomes for their patients. After all, helping people accomplish their oral health goals is what draws many to take up a career in dentistry. With affordable intraoral camera options like the MouthWatch Intraoral Camera, it might only take one patient saying “yes” to treatment for the camera to pay for itself!