MN Lab, Renstrom Dental Studio's: The Benefits of Photography

> Article by Jeffrey L. Benson, DDS for

Renstrom Dental Lab's Radiant Restorations - Spring 2012 Newsletter
Many of the doctors I consult with say that they would like to make dental photography an integral part of their dental practice, but many don’t have a dental camera, and many who do have one are using it only sporadically, if at all.

It's amazing to me that dental practices are investing tens or even hundreds of thousands on new dental technologies while ignoring the single most important practice building technology available, the dental camera.

The photo (side panel) was taken by Dr. Benson and submitted to The Journal of Dental Technology's annual photo Contest. It was one of the select few photos to be printed in the February 2012 Issue.

Digital technology has simplified dental photography to the point that even inexperienced photographers can take excellent dental photos.

Gone are the days of complex camera settings and waiting for the photos to return from the lab while wondering if the photos will even be of acceptable quality.

Today's dental camera systems make dental photography easy, and the benefits to the modern restorative practice are impossible to overestimate. Here are some of the benefits:

Patient Communication

Your patients are constantly bombarded by clever ads promoting the benefits of products and services which compete directly with your treatment recommendations for the discretionary spending of your patients. It's no accident that the most successful ads are highly visual. 

Today's consumer responds enthusiastically to vivid images that show how their life would be better with a particular product or service.

This response is emotional, not rational...a want, not a need. We need be aware of this as we present our treatment plans to our patients. Too often we focus solely on the technical details of treatment while providing the patient with little or no visual information about their problem and the benefits of our recommended treatment.

Most patients need to see their problem in order to "own" it, and see the benefit in order to "want" it. Dental photography is the perfect solution. Many highly successful restorative dentists use pre-op photos to engage the patient in co-diagnosis of treatment needs and follow up with before and after photos of similar cases to allow patients to imagine the benefits of the proposed treatment in their own mouths.

Laboratory Communication

Imagine, for a moment, a laboratory technician attempting to create beautiful and functional smile for your patient. Without photos, the technician never sees the patient, doesn't know where the facial midline is, doesn't know the smile line, skin color, lip support, incisal translucency, etc.

No amount of written instruction on the prescription could possibly communicate this information as well as photos could.

With just a few simple photos you can easily communicate all this information to the technician, greatly improving the function and esthetics of your treatment while reducing stress levels for both youand your technician.

Insurance Communication and Legal Documentation Dental photographs can be very helpful to communicate information about a patien's dental condition which x-rays can't. Cracks, leakage, bad margins, occlusal wear and cervical abrasion/abfraction are just some of the condi- tions that are best documented with photos.

For the same reasons, photos are of great value in showing the patient's pre-treatment condition should a complaint or malpractice suit be filed.


If you are interested making photography an integral part of your practice, I'd love to help you get started in dental photography or simply improve your existing skills.

Also check out our next newsletter (Summer 2012) for my article about dental photographic technique and how to communicate with your lab using photography.

Read Entire: Renstrom Radiant Restorations Newsletter

Written by

Jeff Benson, DDS

HOURS: M & W 10AM -4PM

Renstrom Dental Studio (MN LAB) is a NDA Member.


Story Posted by 

Dick Chwalek,

Dick is also a member of NDA @

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