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Digital Dentistry: Photographing New Roads in the Dental Frontier

Digital photography is at the dawn of a new era in dental practice. Pictures hold valid proof of the surgery process and can also be documented to develop the before- after situations. Dental photos educate patients, improving case acceptance and reinvigorating patient confidence following treatment.

Digital dental photography has opened new methods of communications between dentists and their patients.

Photo Documentation

Dental Photography has two broad variants – Intraoral and Extraoral. Here are a few basic tools you will need to do the same:-

  1. Any camera which allows a dentist to capture full-face as well as profile pictures, together with intra-oral close-up shots.
  2. Two sets of retractors.
  3. Two sets of intraoral photographic mirrors where each set must have one occlusal and one lateral mirror.

 

For the simplest option, obtain a simple series of standard dental photographs to document the case. It’s best to take two sets of photographs – one before the operation and another after. Simple before-and-after pictures of dental procedures can help patients visualize and accept the work they need done. Additional photos should be taken in case you need to present your case afterwards.

What You Can Do to Take Better Dental Photos

  • Take photographs from the same distance and angles, for “before-and-after” comparison.
  • When the chair is inclined at 45 degrees, take shots of the interior, left and right retracted views together with the three headshots.
  • Do not just lean over the patient; slightly shift the patient’s head.
  • Do not change the program mode. This will standardize the exposure settings owing to the default angles of the camera, needed to adjust the focus and the exposure. The lighting must not change in the operatory.
  • Place a background for better photographing. Avoid shadows by placing the patient too close to the background.
  • The front, lateral and occlusal retracted views should always be at a 1:2 magnification.
  • Align your camera using the inter-pupillary line and a vertical midline.
  • For the intraoral shots, the retracted lateral and frontal views must be taken from a distance of around 1 foot from the patient’s face, at maximum optical zoom.
  • Remove pieces of food, excess saliva and blood in the mouth as much as possible to capture clearer photos.

Which Cameras Work Best in the Dental World?

The best camera for the job is the SLR digital camera – the sort of Nikon D90 or a Canon T3i. It must have a ring flash and a dedicated 100 mm macro lens. The Canon G series happens to be the most recommended in this case, with popular ones being the G10, G11 etc. They provide the option for full-manual control, together with a flash-diffuser that gives smoother results even without pop-up flashes.

Conservation of patient history helps the patients as well as the dentists. At Dentistry on Dusk we aim at complete and illustrated documentation of cases. With this post we are trying to encourage other dentists to digitize documentation.