This is the third part in Dr. Jeff Bonk's “Dental Cloacopapyrology” series.

A photo creates emotion. The importance of this should not be overlooked in dental photography

I encourage dentists to align their clinical photography with the principles of Facially Generated Treatment Planning (FGTP). All treatment is outcome-based relative to the tooth positions within the face. The only way to plan and execute treatment without the presence of the patient is through photography. We need to know where the teeth are presently to plan for a change to another more acceptable position within the face.

Being able to review and evaluate a photograph really helps. I recommend obtaining photographs with a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera for maximum clarity, accuracy and presentation.


VIRTUAL SEMINARS: The new virtual Spear Seminar format allows you to refine your clinical skills following the same lessons that you would at the Spear Campus in Scottsdale – but from anywhere, as a safe online alternative to large-attendance campus events.


If you do not have a DSLR camera, you can also use your smartphone. There are many apps to improve quality and brightness. Many do a great job and I know many colleagues that prefer to use their mobile device over a DSLR camera.

But even without attachments and add-ons, acceptable planning photos may be obtained. I am showing you three images below for comparison.

This first photo is key in treatment planning and observation of tooth positions and wear patterns.

Retracted lips close-up of photograph of dental patient's teeth separated.

The second image is one taken with my mobile phone without any attachments - right out of my pocket!

Retracted lips close-up photo taken with smart phone.

The third image is a cropped version of the mobile image.

Retracted lips close-up smart phone photo cropped.

The cropped and DSLR images are very similar! A little clarity is lost, but overall, it provides the necessary information.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Taking photos will create conversation and will motivate patients toward treatment. Get the picture?

Jeffrey Bonk, D.D.S., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.