Good clinical photography is the cornerstone of advanced case planning. A picture speaks a thousand words and are a powerful tool when communicating with patients, dental labs and to support your clinical records. Clinical photography is also an excellent way for you to build your own portfolio of cases, publish your work on social media and elevate your clinical work.
What photographs are needed and what makes them good?
- Know which photographs to take for orthodontic treatment
- Understand landmarks and patient positioning for orthodontic photographs
Here are the two necessary frontal views.
With these photographs, orthodontists will be looking at facial symmetry, smile aesthetics, lip line and lip competency. All of which can impact decisions about orthodontic treatment.
Pro Tip: If your patient is taller or shorter than the photographer, in order to get eye level- you can have the patient sit upright in a chair with feet planted or have the photographer stand on a stool.
The same expressions are captured in the profile view (always the patient’s right profile view).
The smiling profile shot is important in the absence of a lateral ceph radiograph to give some sense of the proclination of the upper incisors. Additionally, these photographs will provide insight into a patient's profile and how you may (or may not) want orthodontic treatment to impact the profile.
Pro Tip: For each of the extraoral photos, the F stop was set at 8 and the autofocus used with flash settings appropriate for the level of ambient lighting.
The three core intraoral photos that are needed in max ICP are as seen here.
The goal is to be able to focus on the incisor, canine and molar relationships. As well as, determine if any significant midline deviations.
Pro Tip: Try to ensure that the occlusal plane is level and that the photograph is taken from a direction that is on the same plane. Here is an example of an angled occlusal plane:
The last two intraoral photographs needed are occlusal views of the upper and lower.
These photographs provide insight into arch diagnoses such as; the level of crowding or spacing present and arch form.
Occlusal photographs can be particularly challenging as we must factor in how to deliver a reasonable patient experience. First of all, ALWAYS explain what you are going to do as it can be a complex manoeuvre and you might need a hand from your patient.
Pro Tips: For intraoral views manual focus is recommended with a lens magnification ratio of 1:3 and high f stop, usually between 22 and 32. Additionally, always warm occlusal mirrors beforehand to avoid fogging – you can use warm water or a heating pad.
We hope that you have found these hints and tips useful! Practice clinical photography with members of your team to get slick and make this a part of your day-to-day practice. Repetition will make the experience more comfortable for patients and improve the quality of the photos in your portfolio.