One of the hardest things we do in dentistry is the dreaded single tooth crown or veneer. It’s difficult to have chroma, value, hue, and light reflection mimic the natural dentition when you’re working on tooth #8 or 9. It often takes multiple try-in appointments and a significant amount of communication with your lab to get it right.

Some practitioners won’t restore a single tooth and will prep both centrals in order to get a predictable result. But as patients and clinicians alike seek more conservative esthetic options, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify preparation of a virgin tooth that is otherwise beautiful and healthy. So how can we help our ceramists nail the single restoration?

A tool I’ve recently added to my armamentarium is polar_eyes. It’s a cross-polarization filter that eliminates the reflections cast by the flash. It eliminates the distractions in the photo so that your ceramist can better evaluate the tooth’s translucency, white spot lesions, and overall characterization. 

polar eyes dental photography

The filter comes with four small magnets that you attach to your flash, and then the filter easily stays in place with the four magnets attached to the inside of the filter.

You can see from the photos below the level of detail available to the ceramist with and without the cross-polarization filter in place:

single tooth restoration
single tooth indirect restorations

Although it’s a pricey little addition to your toolbox at $449, I’ve found it decreases my chair time with try-in appointments. Fun tip: it’s also a great way to highlight something for a patient that they may not be able to see in a traditional photo the way you can. Next time you’re monitoring a white-spot lesion, snap a quick filtered photo and show the patient for a “wow”.     

dental restoration 

(Click this link for more dentistry articles by Dr. Courtney Lavigne.)

Courtney Lavigne, D.M.D., Spear Visiting Faculty and Contributing Author -


Commenter's Profile Image Andrew C.
February 21st, 2018
Love the Polarized filter. Been using it for 2 years. Make sure your labs like it. Some technicians do not value this information. Not sure why, because I think those photos are invaluable for translucency and overall color variation. Nice read Courtney