My Favorite Photograph
As a clinician, I look for a consistent and predictable means to help me properly diagnose and treatment plan patients. As a technician, I look for a consistent and predictable process that allows me to achieve the desired outcome when fabricating restorations. Both of these objectives can be accomplished through the use of photographs. They are an essential means of communication within the dental team, and for conveying information to patients.
In order to have optimal esthetic and functional success, a critical goal of treatment is to level the incisal and occlusal planes of both arches. It is crucial that the doctor is able to clearly communicate the patient’s incisal and occlusal planes relative to horizon to the laboratory technician, and photography is a key element to accomplishing this goal.
The following steps will help you to achieve the optimal photographic result:
- The photographer is approximately eight feet from the patient.
- The photograph will be in portrait format with the patient looking into the horizon.
- The image must represent the patient in a natural posture. The interpupillary line frequently is level with horizon, but that may not always be the case.
- The patient should stand about one foot in front of a wall with a horizontal line present at a height between the eyes and the tip of the nose.
- The patient is holding lip retraction to expose their teeth.
- The teeth are separated 1.0 to 2.0 mm at the incisal edges.
- The camera lens is at the level of the maxillary arch.
- Frame the photograph to include the forehead and the chin.
- The horizontal line behind the patient must be visible.
- The viewfinder should be parallel to the horizontal line.
- Take the photograph perpendicular to the facial plane at the level of the maxillary arch.
- If the image when viewed on the computer is not level because the camera was not straight, a correction can be made by rotating the photograph so the horizontal line parallels horizon.
Remember that the final outcome is generally evaluated on how the teeth or restorations appear within the face at a social distance.