Ask Marty: Have any opinions on handheld intraoral cameras?

By Martin Jablow, DMD

June 29, 2009 -- Q: Have any opinions on handheld intraoral cameras?

A: Sure do! They are a wonderful adjunct to dentistry because they are easy to use and always available. Unlike a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or extraoral digital camera, a handheld intraoral camera does not require you to remove your gloves to take photographs during the procedure. A barrier covers the handheld units, and many can be mounted on the bracket table. So they are a very convenient way to take pictures in the mouth.

The Polaris intraoral camera. Image courtesy of Air Techniques.
Intraoral cameras can be purchased from $150 to $5,000, and it is definitely a "get what you pay for" situation. On the higher end you have cameras such as the Digital Doc, Air Techniques' Polaris, and Acteon 717. All of these cameras will give you a great picture.

On the low end you can check out eBay and purchase a camera from Hong Kong. These cameras will give you an acceptable picture if you need to show something to a patient or for insurance documentation. These cameras will not usually integrate with imaging software, but they can capture a picture to your computer.

I suggest you contact the manufacturer and see if you can arrange for a demonstration from your local representative.

Martin Jablow, D.M.D., is a practicing dentist and a self-professed technophile who lectures and blogs on a variety of technologies used in dentistry ( If you have a technology question for Dr. Jablow, e-mail it to us at


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