Shade Tab Incisal Edge Up, or Down in Dental Photography?

It is becoming very popular for dentists to include a shade tab in the dental photo of their patient when the picture is meant to help a dental lab technician with tooth shade and characterization. This is great!

We wanted to take a moment to correct one small, but very important mistake that we are seeing.

When holding the shade tab up to the appropriate tooth, the dentist needs to make sure that the incisal edge of the shade tab is pointed up. Why is this so important?

We include a shade tab in the picture so that the lab technician can compare it to the patient’s tooth in the photo. Therefore, there needs to be as little reflection on both the patient’s tooth and the shade tab. When the shade tab’s incisal edge faces up, the flash of the camera bounces up, and is not seen in the picture. If it is facing down however, the flash will reflect back at the camera, and will degrade the usefulness of the image.

Please watch this video to see this concept explained.

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About the Author

Founder of Dental Learning Centers® and ShadeWave, Dennis has been in dental technology since 1990. He is recognized as one of the early pioneers and experts at teaching digital photography, cosmetic imaging and case presentation in dentistry.

Dennis is the developer of ImageCentrik Dental Software, camera shade devices and several dental cameras. He has lectured at numerous locations and trained 1000’s of dentists world-wide.

Dennis is faculty Director for Dental Learning Centers and CE at Sea, and has several published articles, in the Journal of Dental Technology (JDT) and Contemporary Esthetics.