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Contributing Expert: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Dental Images Media Library

Teresa Duncan photo

Dental Care

Dental Care

Teresa Butler Duncan, RDH, BS
Instructor, University of Mississippi, School of Health Related Professions, Dental Hygiene Department
MDH Student, University of Tennessee Health Science Center


The commonly used phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, most likely originated from a Chinese proverb which claimed “one picture is worth ten thousand words.” Whether one or ten thousand words, pictures have a dramatic impact on learning. Pictures function to keep learners interested, assist in comprehension, and convey information not provided by words.1 Educational research studies have proven the superiority of the brain to recall images versus text. Pictures are processed in the imagery system and verbal system: dual coding. This process makes it easier to retrieve information and make cross connections between the two different codes.2

Images, including oral images, can be found in abundance on the internet. However, search time can be lengthy and image quality is inconsistent. Importantly, copyright restrictions are variable and often unclear to the user. Several dental specialty groups maintain media libraries but membership is required for access to the images.

The dentalcare media library now offers open access to over 200 high quality oral images for dental professionals. Images are easily searchable through 25 topic fields. Some of the topics included are: dental caries, periodontal diseases, oral pathology, restorations, plaque, calculus, and oral hygiene products.

Click here to view all clinical images in the dentalcare media library. Clicking on this link will take you to the US site. To search the database:

  1. Click the “Topic” search field to reveal a variety of oral health topics. Select the topic of interest.

  2. Under “Media Type”, select “Images”.

  3. Hit “Search”. You can select any image for an expanded view. Select download to download the image to your computer.

If you want to browse all available images, select "images" in the media type field and hit Search.

We hope you enjoy using the over 200 images currently in the library. Our plans include periodic updates to include additional images as they become available. Please feel free to include any of the images in your lectures or professional presentations. A special thank you goes to the following dental professionals who generously contributed images for this project: Dr. Traci Dellinger, Dr. William Buchanan, Dr. Neeta Mehta, Elizabeth Carr, Dr. Ray Holder, Dr. Rebecca Lang, and Dr. Nancy Williams.


1. Carney RN, and Levin JR. Pictorial illustrations still improve students’ learning from text. Educational Psychology Review. 2002 March; 14(1):5-26.

2. Schnotz W. Towards an integrated view of learning from text and visual displays. Educational Psychology Review. 2002 March; 14(1):101-120.



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