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!

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