Dentistry’s game changers – James Goolnik on dental photography

James Goolnik explains how dental photography has changed dentistry for himTo celebrate 25 years of Dentistry magazine, we’ve asked leading dental professionals for their game-changing innovation that shaped their career. In this article we asked James Goolnik what his game-changing product is.

James qualified in 1992 from King’s College London.

He has worked exclusively in London since 1995.

James is a past-president of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

He has twice been listed in Private Dentistry’s poll of the top 20 dentists in the UK.

He has been voted the most influential person in dentistry in the UK in 2011 and 2012 by Dentistry magazine.

James has recently launched his second book, Kick Sugar, out in January, with a mission to help the world kick sugar.

Dental photography

My most ground-breaking product has to be my camera for dental photography.

Now I am using a Canon 80D DSLR.

When I qualified in 1992 my first dental camera was a Canon T60.

It used conventional 35mm film and I had to take loads of photographs and then send them by post to Truprint to wait a week to see what they looked like.

Monitoring the mouth

The quality of both my dentistry and my communication with my patients has improved since starting dental photography.

I take a photograph of a patient’s smile (non-retracted) and ask them how I can help.

There is no need to ‘sell’ dentistry and we have a discussion about what they dislike and their treatment options.

It helps me communicate better with my peers and our technician.

As I have been in the same practice for the last 18 years each of my patients has an extensive library of images.

For me the best dentistry is no dentistry.

I monitor the condition of their mouth, give oral hygiene advice and diet tweaks over the years.

There are teeth that I have been ‘watching’ for all this time and the photographs I take along the way helps me to decide when I need to intervene.

Teeth that I felt would almost certainly need treatment have proven me wrong, remaining– stable over many years.

Now, having an iPhone, you are just a Whatsapp message away from a plethora of specialist help and advice from identifying old implant systems to help with unusual mouth ulceration.

In the past year with my cookbook Kick Sugar I have been learning about food photography, which is another skill to master!

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