The Dental Lab’s Top 10 Tips to Take More Effective Photos

Dental-Camera-finalPatient photographs are one of the most useful tools available to a clinician when case planning and communicating with your laboratory. Sending digital photographs of your case can make the difference between creating a great restoration and an extraordinary one. Here are a few tips to help make your photographs more effective:

  1. Take photos before prepping. Teeth should be hydrated and clear of debris.
  2. Watch out for bright colors. Colored cheek retractors, bright colored lipstick, gloves, clothing, or bibs can reflect on to the teeth. Use clear cheek retractors, have patients remove lipstick, and use a neutral colored bib (avoid pastels) when taking photos.
  3. Choose the right flash. The ring flash is best suited for occlusal and posterior shots due to its bright illumination. The macro twin light flash is best suited for anterior photography and actual shade taking photos.
  4. Sit the patient upright. Taking photos with patient reclined changes the lighting and shade perception.
  5. Include shade tabs in photos. Make sure that you can see the shade number in the picture. If you are doing a patient specific shade, include several different shade tabs as reference points. Whenever possible, include a stump shade. Please be sure to note the shades on your prescriptions.
  6. Placement of shade tabs is important. Be sure the entire shade tab is included in the photo. Also the tab should be on the same plane as the tooth and placed incisal edge to incisal edge.
  7. Let in some light. Make sure you have natural light coming in to the room where you are taking photos. Turn on your overhead room lights. Also, turn off your operatory lights, they can create a yellowish tint in your photos.
  8. Select the correct camera mode. Use the Macro setting when taking pictures of teeth. A standard setting should be used for full-face photography.
  9. Focus. Use your camera’s LCD viewing screen to be sure you’ve captured all the information needed and that the photo is in focus. If not, re-shoot the image.
  10. Take multiple shots. Send us case photos at: (Please include doctor name, patient last name, and doctor contact information.)

Recommended shot list:

  1. Full face smile
  2. Close-up natural smile
  3. Close-up retracted, with teeth separated
  4. Close-up retracted, with teeth together
  5. Shade tab in mouth at same plane and same orientation as natural
    tooth you are trying to match.
  6. Shade tab incisal to incisal edge.
  7. Side views left and right
Full face
Full face
Full natural smile
Full natural smile
Close up, retracted, teeth separated.
Close up, retracted, teeth separated.
Close up, retracted, teeth together.
Close up, retracted, teeth together.
Incisal edge to incisal edge
Incisal edge to incisal edge
Side view
Side view

2 thoughts on “The Dental Lab’s Top 10 Tips to Take More Effective Photos

  1. Thanks for discussing how to take effective pictures of your client’s teeth. This is something that most non-dentists, like me, just don’t really think that much about. For one thing, you can use it in a marketing campaign in the future and use it to demonstrate the quality of your work.


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