Dental Lab Tip: Predictable Results with Digital Photography

Communication between dentist and dental laboratory is a critical element in achieving a desired restorative and esthetic outcome. Visual images are a key part of this communication and provide the dental technician with valuable information about the patient.

Photos not only serve as a practical case tool but also allow the laboratory technician to have a better connection with the patient and a higher level of involvement with the dentistry case. Images of the actual dental patient versus a stone model, especially in an anterior case, are a key component needed in the fabrication process.

The digital camera can sometimes be challenging for some dentists and dental practices, but with the proper training and commitment of the staff, the camera can become a part of the everyday routine. Using a digital camera dedicated to dental photography is recommended, single reflex cameras seem to be preferred for producing high quality images.

Although each type of camera has its own unique features and many guidelines to follow, here are some quick tips to remember:
  • It is important that your camera is properly adjusted to the optimal settings suited for dental photography
  • Hold selected shade tabs up to incisal edges of teeth so that the tab numbers can be seen in the photo. Photos should be taken of stump shade as well (for all ceramic)
  • Along with close up photos, also provide full face natural photos – smiling and resting position (for incisal edge positioning)
  • Upload the photos to your computer and store them in a folder that is easily accessible
  • Email the photos to Renstrom dental lab by attaching them as a file and in the message part include the patient's name and doctor’s name.
Photos can be emailed to
  • Lighting is the most important element – There should be an accurate amount of light exposure that displays detail throughout the image. – electronic flash
  • Have a good quality lens on your camera –consider the working distance and a close up lens with reproduction numbers for standardization
  • Mirrors should be used for intra oral views – the mirror should be stored at room temp and brought to body temp at time of photos, also clean and dry prior to each picture
  • Unobtrusive retractors should be used for proper retraction- to avoid a reflection use plastic vs. metal
For more information on digital photography or hands on assistance, contact Renstrom today!


An Open Letter To Dentists Who Want More From Their Vocation, Business, Life, Expertise...

  • Based On An Actual Client Correspondence
Dear Dentists,

I came up with eight general goals/categories to improve and enhance your hourly, daily, monthly, yearly and lifelong success quotient. Each one is derived from issues, concerns, or logjams - you, your spouse, your team and/or I saw and discovered in our recent interviews.

Rather than identify where someone is doing or not doing something, it makes sense at this early stage to take an overall, goal-focused approach. Then as we have the team consults - we can address specific processes and areas of concern as they relate to these goals.

Plus I need time to review the team interviews, and produce a report on them, which will be included in my monthly fees. In a couple of days – we will schedule the first team session as soon as you are available.

By using the ‘goals format’, we can proceed without disrupting dental team cohesiveness. No one is put on the spot to defend their role, responsibilities, and job critique. We will directly address specific concerns - just not in a group session. It will depend on how things go--each team member's participation level, etc.

FORMAT of FIRST CONSULT: The goals we develop, together with some examples of how you/team are already making strides, bringing up some specific areas of concern (without naming names) to show the reality of what was discussed and give everyone an ‘assignment’ so it is not mostly about me talking and talking and all of us meeting and meeting.

1. Family First – Success Is Possible Only When Priorities Can Be Honored*

2. Time Management – Higher Production Requires A Targeted Focus

3. Put Money (Fees, Cost, Etc.) in Its Place – HIDDEN BEHIND Value!

4. Think/Find Solutions – Because blame has few positive attributes; the obvious one is that blame rhymes with lame

5. New Idea Success – Prep Everyone First, Let Simmer, Then Delegate Planning, and Finally, Implement with the knowledge that changes will be needed and a new direction will be taken in (possibly in multiple areas).

6. Total Team Cohesion – Consistency, Documentation and Review (Trust & Verify)

7. Facing Reality/Challenges – Even When Some "Thing" Can't Change - Improvements Are Possible

8. Specific Goals – Achieving A $5,000+ Per Month/Per Employee Improvement How to achieve: Rethinking Old Habits (personal, patient, referral, vendors, etc.), Process/Systems Improvements and More Connected Communication

NOTE: the first goal is not just about the discussions we had about your needing to be home more - but also that your team is very family oriented - and anything that conflicts with their family time - drains them of energy you need to be successful. Basically, if we can't improve the priority - day in and day out reality - of this part of their work experience - the other things we do are probably not going to get the level of results we want either.

Dentists who want to achieve a higher level of success need to go beyond the normal make money at the cost of value concepts. Your dental expertise matters more than the money you can make from it. The patient’s oral health has more value than the money you can glean from them.

Show real concern with a consistent level of effective communication. The more they understand about the value you offer, the more likely they will increase their appreciation for the higher level services you offer.

The consumer is wary of “being sold” so dentists must go the extra mile to reach out to them proactively and strategically rather than merely as another service sold at a discount. Expertise has value; presented in a way that lessens its value only leads to more wariness and distrust.

Consumers are not afraid of large fees or high costs – they are distrustful of any slippage in your resolve to justify the recommendations you present. Trust in what you have to offer by being profitably honest about the potential your dentistry can achieve.

Sincerely, Dick Chwalek

I also did some quick searches for various value focused articles to show how common the idea of presenting value is. Dentists need understand how it applies to their services and expertise. While these articles are not dental focused, they provide a perspective on the 'value' of the value presentation.

Choosing a Dentist: Are You Looking At Their Dental Training?

Dentists who regularly improve their skills and learn new techniques are able to offer their patients the level of care they deserve. When you are choosing a dentist for any type of procedure, for your family, and just for ongoing preventive care, their level of expertise matters.

Review their website, ask their team, and look at how their colleagues compare. See if they are regularly updating their training, get them to show you the results they have achieved, and make sure you know what their patients have said about the care they have received.

While a nice and friendly dentist is one criteria to consider, how healthy, comfortable and confident you feel after treatment has much more long term valuable.

No dentist is perfect. No dental treatment is completely guaranteed. No dentistry training makes everything right. However, we as dental consumers, can take more time to determine if we are getting appropriate, updated, and comprehensive dentistry.

Michigan Dentist Completes Yearlong Implant Fellowship

Dr. Brian Klym of Northwood Dental recently completed the yearlong Fellowship training program at the Misch Implant Institute. This comprehensive hands-on program is considered the gold standard of implant treatment training.

Created in 1984, the world-renowned Misch Implant Institute helps set and elevate the level of care in implant dentistry using a hands-on approach. Dentists attend specific classes on diagnosis, implant dentistry planning and patient evaluation, and all phases of implant treatment. Each course includes lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions for both removable and fixed prosthodontics.

Dr. Klym started his implant training many years ago, receiving a fellowship from the ICOI in 1998 (International Congress of Oral Implantologist). His patients are receiving a high level of care and his continued implant training will help insure long-term, healthy results for his patients.

Brian P. Klym, DDS, is the owner of Northwood Dental in Traverse City. He has DOCS certification—an oral conscious sedation program, which means his patients can expect comfortable and anxiety-free treatment. To learn more about Dr. Klym, his background, the Northwood team, and the comprehensive services he provides, visit

Northwood Dental
Brian P. Klym D.D.S.
10748 E. Traverse Highway
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
(231) 947-7202


While Dr. Klym is one choice for you if you're a Traverse City area resident, review all your options. It is your health, your smile, and your well being.

Dentists who want to communicate with the consumer in a proactive, positive and purposeful way, can Google a dental consultant. If that does not work for you, contact me.

Dick Chwalek
866-453-1026 Ext 251