Dental photography: How to master the art of taking great intraoral pictures
Today’s post in our dental photography series focuses on intraoral picture-taking. Intraoral pictures are generally considered particularly tricky. They require you to take a range of challenging details into account.
Professional teamwork is essential
Dental photographic documentation is the result of teamwork. Intraoral photography requires
- a practitioner that is knowledgeable about photography,
- a trained dental assistant and, last but not least,
- a compliant patient.
We provide you with some advice that will be of use to you and your assistant to create high-quality clinical pictures.
Planning is the be-all and end-all
“Intraoral pictures necessitate especially careful planning,” advises Dr Arnd Peschke from Ivoclar Vivadent in Schaan/Liechtenstein. “They are considered particularly demanding because they require a high level of consistency: image area, orientation, depth of field, illumination, colour temperature and scale should all remain unchanged in the images across the entire sequence.”
Digital dentistry and dental technology: The dental world in transition
The devil is in the detail
Your photography may be affected by the practical details of the clinical situation. For example: “Even the placement of a rubber dam may result in a change in the light situation - and lead to deviations from the colour temperature and brightness compared to the initial situation. Manual fine-tuning is essential in such circumstances. This means that the exposure parameters and white balance should be adjusted as required.”
It is often impossible to reconstruct a setting later on
Detailed planning is especially important when shooting step-by-step sequences: “Before starting the session, compile a list with all the settings that you want to photograph and then work through them systematically,” advises Dr Peschke. “Otherwise, it may happen that you forget to take pictures of a specific situation that will be difficult to recreate later on.”
Another piece of advice: It is often necessary to include instruments (e.g. brushes, spatulas, contra-angles) on intraoral pictures. For this reason, we recommend using an oral mirror with a long handle. Long-handled mirrors provide easy access to the treatment field and do not obstruct the access of light.
The environment should fit the subject on the picture
In the opinion of Dr Peschke, dental photography has many pitfalls that can affect the outcome. “It is annoying when images lose some of their value because the surroundings depicted on them do not match the subject on the picture. For instance: the image sequence of a highly esthetic inlay restoration loses its appeal if it is shown next to a defective amalgam filling. Plaque, gingivitis or excessive saliva are equally unsightly,” the dental expert points out. To avoid this, pay attention to the surrounding details so that your pictures convey the quality of your treatment and the materials you are using appropriately.
Conclusion: Dental photography is a vast and exciting field
Did you enjoy our series of blog posts on dental photography and were they helpful? Did they whet your appetite for more? If you want to dig in deeper into dental photography, check out the following options:
- Read our posts on photography equipment published on this blog site.
- Download our camera equipment overview together with our current checklist on portrait, lab-work and intraoral photography.
- Find out more about our current courses on dental photography, for instance at ICDE - International Center for Dental Education.