Written by Scott Benjamin, DDS, Alfredo Aguirre, DDS, MS, and Alan Drinnan, DDS, MD Thursday, 31 October 2002 19:00
|Figures 1 to 3. Pretreatment and immediate post surgical digital photographs taken with the Kodak DX4900 Camera that are both printed and sent with specimen and also e-mailed digitally to pathology lab to assist in proper diagnosis.|
|Figure 4. The digitized microscopic image that is e-mailed from the lab back to the clinician to be incorporated into the patient’s electronic clinical patientrecord ensuring a complete and comprehensive record of the case and treatment.|
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY’S PLACE WITHIN ORAL PATHOLOGY EXAMINATIONS
Photography promises to help dentists address each of the previously mentioned issues as follows (Figures 1 through 3):
- Photodocumentation can aid diagnosis by enabling dentists to share critical information
with oral pathology specialists.
- Photodocumenting oral lesions can increase treatment acceptance by enabling more effective patient communication.
- Photodocumentation helps ensure that oral lesions are properly recorded.
The value of photography for documenting oral pathology has been raised even further by the availability of high-quality, moderately priced digital cameras for dentistry. Digital cameras enable dental staff members to quickly and easily capture images of oral lesions. In so doing, they help to keep both fixed and variable costs of photography low, while contributing substantially to the practice’s standard of care.
- Inflammatory. Lesions of this type may be caused by localized irritants, which may be physical in nature (eg, lacerations), chemical (eg, aspirin burns), or infectious agents (bacterial, viral, or fungal).
- Neoplastic. Benign or malignant.
- Developmental. For example, because of growth abnormalities of soft tissue, jaws, bone, or teeth.
- Other. This category includes lesions caused by degenerative or immune deficiency diseases.
To perform soft tissue screening, the patient’s entire mouth should be visually inspected for any abnormality, including the lips; labial and buccal mucosa; tongue (dorsum, lateral borders, and ventral surfaces); floor of the mouth; hard and soft palate; and finally, gingival tissues.
Dr. Benjamin is the advanced technology editor for Practical Procedures and Aesthetic Dentistry, and the working group chairman for digital camera, and co-chairman of the electronic patient record working group of the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. His private practice is based in Sidney, NY.
Dr. Aguirre is a professor in the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine at SUNY in Buffalo, NY. He is director of the Advanced Training Program in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, and directs the OMA Oral Pathology Laboratory.
Dr. Drinnan is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine at SUNY in Buffalo, NY.
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