Across the world, people are now reaching for their phones instead of their digital cameras to take photos. The dental world is no different. Every day, more dentists are reaching for their iPhones instead of their digital cameras when taking clinical pictures.

Although phones are familiar and convenient, there have been issues that hinder their effectiveness.

The two largest issues that dentists face when choosing to use their iPhone cameras are:

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There are so many complicated aspects of dental photography, so I love it when I can share a simple tip with dentists that will make huge improvements in their dental photos.

The simple tip that I would like to share with you is to make sure that your patient is on the same plane as the camera when the picture is taken. Even though it may seem simpler to leave the patient laying horizontally in the dental chair and take the picture from above, bright operatory lights will eliminate large amounts of detail in the picture that the lab technician needs.

What do we suggest?

Take the time to raise the dental chair higher and tilt the chair forward so that the patient is in an upright position at the same height as the photographer. This will vastly reduce unwanted reflections. Also, it is helpful to have the patient turn their head toward the camera to ensure even lighting over their entire smile.

If you found this tip helpful, share it with your dental colleagues! If you’d like to learn more ways to quickly improve your dental photography, click here, or go to

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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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Dentists and labs can now communicate instantly on Shade Matching cases within ShadeWave.  

As we all know, HIPAA compliance in Dental Offices and Dental Laboratories is very important. With this in mind, ShadeWave has added a new feature called Secure Note to our Dental Shade Matching SoftwareSecure Note is an embedded communication tool inside of ShadeWave that facilitates secure, convenient correspondence between the dentist and the dental laboratory technician. All conversations are stored in the patient’s record and are accessible any time. The goal of Secure Note is to facilitate more frequent, HIPAA compliant, communication between dentists and their dental laboratory while eliminating wasted time playing phone or email tag.  View all ShadeWave Features >

Success or failure largely depends on the accurate transfer of subtle information from the dentist to the laboratory.” 
– Jean Sagara, Dental Economics

Learn more about ShadeWave in the Spring 2016 issue of Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry article “New Algorithm in Shade Matching”.

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5 Ways Dental Photography Can Make Money for Your Dental Practice

Many Dental professionals have some kind of digital camera in their practice.  To some, the camera is used as a part of every-day patient procedure and for others, it has become a very expensive paper weight.

These 5 tips are designed to give both the every-day user, and the paper weight connoisseurs some ideas on how to capitalize on and monetize dental photography.

  1. Website Marketing: Take professional photos of your best cases to market to prospective and existing patients. There is nothing more compelling than seeing pictures of happy patients with healthy, beautiful smiles.
  2. Enhanced Communication with Dental Lab: Remakes are a huge loss for the dental office in terms of patient trust as well as money. Digital photography can help capture and communicate more information to the lab technician to help facilitate more accurate results.
  3. Document cases for insurance: Meticulous patient record keeping is imperative for insurance purposes. Including digital photography in those patient records can help to clarify situations and minimize possible risk.
  4. Educational purposes: Have a unique or difficult case? Document it through digital photography! There is immense value in sharing and discussing these cases (in a HIPAA compliant way) with other industry professionals, as well as with other dental staff in the office.
  5. Social Media: Photography is an easy way to create and maintain your office’s social media presence. Post pictures of the staff, happy patients, the office, community outreach, and holiday photos.

Learn more about ShadeWave’s Dental Shade Matching Software and contact us for more information!

The dental field is a constantly shifting landscape. Advances in the industry are exploding into the market every day. Products like CAD CAM milling machines are quickly growing from an abstract concept, into an industry standard. Patient records have jumped from physical to digital.  And there is a constant pressure to stay competitive.
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