Dr. Charlie Cage Dental Blog

Challenges with Dental Intraoral Photography

It’s tougher than it looks!

You are beginning to overcome the challenges of taking intraoral photos in dentistry, beginning with selecting the right camera and lens. To save time, I suggest you start right here, it’s a great guide for getting started in dental photography. Once you’ve have selected your flash and accessories and you are ready to go!

But not quite yet! Nothing prepares you for the challenges that would come after that! The challenges of managing lip retraction, tongue placement, and saliva control are only exacerbated when you now have to deal with the mirror fogging!

stop Dental photography mirror fogging

Existing solutions to stop the fogging on dental mirrors

The classic air-water syringe.

  • Benefit is conveniently located on the dental chair. 
  • Able to be used quickly to remove or prevent fog on the mirror. 

Cons:

  • Requires an extra set of hands for constant use and careful placement to make sure it does not make its debut in the photos. 
  • Inconsistent since some air-water syringes are also prone to lightly spray water even when only the air button is pressed. These light droplets can negatively affect the overall clarity of the photos. 

Warm water bath / bowl. 

After spending some time to get the ideal temperature, this water bath will warm the mirrors to prevent fogging. This is great but now the mirror is covered in water. So now, even more time has to be spent to dry the mirrors ensuring no water spots.  

Fancy mirror fan: 

This basically is the more expensive and cool alternative to the air-water syringe. It is great because it eliminates the issue of needing an extra set of hands as the mirror is mounted onto this device. There is no introduction of water into the equation, so no mess to clean up. It works by blowing air gently onto the mirrors to prevent fog but did I mention already that it was expensive? See for yourself below. 

Mirror warmer: 

These are similar to the mirror fans, but instead of a fan it is a warmer. It’s a small container and the mirrors are either placed in or on it to allow the mirror to warm to approximately body temperature. The fancier it gets, the heftier the price ticket. This one is from PhotoMed and comes in, at the time of writing this, $149.00. 

the Shop

Which one is better to stop fogging?

Not needing extra hands to operate, eliminating artifacts from the inclusion of water, having better patient acceptance, and requiring the least amount of time for use. The obvious choice is the mirror warmer. 

However, if you’re a student, new dentist or you’re just like me who hate spending money unnecessarily, there is another and even better alternative. After spending some quality time searching the internet and finally falling on a small excerpt where its use was mentioned on Spear Education’s website. 

An easy, fast, and affordable way to prevent dental mirrors from fogging!

Drumroll…

A heating pad. I know right, brilliant! You can use a low setting to ensure patient comfort. The cloth cover is removable to leave a plastic surface that can be disinfected and also covered with a disposable cloth. There is no introduction of water, it warms mirrors quickly and evenly, and finally, it is cheap! It is less than $20.00. If you drop this on the floor, unlike the expensive products above, you won’t have any issues!

I prefer this one because the cloth cover is easily removed, the small size is very accommodating, and it has an auto shut-off. I actually tested this one and it warms the mirror within a few minutes and I was able to use the mirror continuously for about 12 minutes. This is more than enough time to take a series of photos. 

prevent dental mirror from fogging

There are several variables that will come into play regarding the temperature of the mirrors including room temperature, the temperature level selected, the thickness of the heating pad cover, etc. This must be calibrated for your use and tested prior to use on a patient. 

WHAT'S THE HACK?

CONCLUSION

Use a small discrete heating pad to warm your intraoral mirrors to make the process of taking dental photos a breeze! 

I love sharing dental pearls and guess what? I have a free guide to help you get your camera setting dialed in! IT’S FREE and it’s right HERE! Enjoy!

I hope this was helpful! Be sure to leave a like so I know it helped and subscribe to the blog! 

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