An Interview with Shofu
Inside Dentistry (ID): We know the EyeSpecial C-II was designed exclusively for dentistry. Can you give us some insight on what led to its development?
Shofu: Shofu has been known for its excellence in abrasive and restorative branches of dentistry. The “Brownies” and “Greenies” have set industry standards for the finishing and polishing procedures. Furthermore, Shofu’s proprietary Giomer technology has made a noteworthy contribution to advancements in minimally invasive, patient-specific restorative dentistry.
Although the development of a camera may be perceived as a step in a different direction, in Japan, Shofu has been selling its branded dental cameras with much success for nearly a decade. In fact, the current model, the EyeSpecial C-II, represents the fourth generation of the original Shofu’s camera and the second one in the EyeSpecial line.
Undoubtedly, the two types of cameras prevalent in dentistry today, point-and-shoot cameras and single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras, can deliver satisfactory solutions. Still, they do not fully address all the needs and conditions required by contemporary dental practices.
The ideal dental camera should be stress free, capture superb images with little effort, and be insensitive to the user’s level of photography experience. The need for equipment customization should be minimal with settings readily available to address versatile needs of a practice of any volume and size. The camera should also be intuitive, smart, and possess features that enable sharing information with peers, patients, and laboratories more efficiently. The body of the camera should be durable, lightweight, and convenient to disinfect. HIPAA compliance and ability to communicate with other devices and systems in dental office or laboratory should also be considered a standard requirement.
The EyeSpecial C-II was developed with the intent to meet the need for effortless and consistent excellence in clinical photography, case documentation, and patient and peer communication and education. It is a truly exciting innovation, a game changer for the entire dental office.
ID: What features make the EyeSpecial C-II unique and especially well suited to clinical practice?
Shofu: The EyeSpecial C-II captures high-quality images with ease and convenience. It has an exceptional depth-of-field range, smart autofocus, and unique flash capabilities that ensure true-color reproduction and superb clinical photography. Like smartphones and tablets, Shofu’s camera is highly intuitive, user friendly, compact, and ultra-lightweight.
The camera features eight preset dental shooting modes—Standard, Surgery, Mirror, Face, Low-Glare, Whitening, Tele-Macro, and Isolate Shade—each to address a specific dental photography need. Markedly, two modes—isolate shade and whitening—can make a significant contribution towards efficient in-office communication and peer-to-peer and lab collaboration. The isolate shade function grays out the gingival part of an image to facilitate flawless shade matching for both the lab technician and dentist. The whitening mode helps demonstrate the before and after whitening, which is an excellent feature when discussing the progress of a therapy or as an interactive aid to gain patient’s acceptance.
Designed for comfort and functionality, the EyeSpecial C-II exceeds stringent infection control protocols. The camera is water, chemical, and scratch resistant, and can be swiftly disinfected with a disinfecting wipe, which may be a daunting task when performed on traditional equipment.
Operation is also virtually stress free, as no extensive technical knowledge is required to work with the EyeSpecial C-II, an attribute that brings consistency and efficacy to treatment planning and allows the clinician to delegate clinical photography tasks to staff members.
ID: How does the EyeSpecial C-II enhance communication in the dental office?
Shofu: The Shofu camera offers numerous features that ameliorate in-office and peer-to-peer collaboration and patient education. The LCD screen of the EyeSpecial C-II is larger than displays in typical smartphones and SLRs, and it can be operated with a gloved hand. The draw/edit function enables making notes on images which is a value added when discussing therapy options or pointing out problematic areas in a treatment.
The camera also has the ability to wirelessly interconnect with other systems in dental office and laboratory. When equipped with a WiFi card, a photograph captured with Shofu’s camera will instantly appear on connected office devices, including a computer screen, laptop, and an iPad, turning a dental office or a laboratory into an efficient communication hub.
ID: What does it mean to Shofu to have the EyeSpecial C-II selected as Best of Class for 2015?
Shofu: Led by Dr. Lou Shuman, the Best of Class Technology award truly represents an initiative that inspires new and existing technology companies to improve on an annual basis and to educate those in the dental profession to use technology effectively.
Shofu is immensely honored to accept an award that reflects our company’s philosophy of taking dentistry to the next level by delivering smart product solutions.
Although the development of a dental camera may be perceived as a step in a different direction, it truly expands the horizons of what’s possible to achieve. Shofu takes pride in offering products and services in top-notch quality at highly competitive prices. From the company’s perspective, investment in new technologies gives us the ability to stay innovative and competitive in a long run.