Digital dentistry has revolutionized the dental industry in many ways, from reducing the time required for procedures to enhancing the patient experience. With the digitization of workflows (such as patient scheduling and records keeping) to CAD/CAM being integrated into routine dental practices, clinics are now able to streamline their pipelines and enhance the services that they provide patients every day.
The advent of digital photography in dentistry has also played a critical role in this transformation. The use of digital cameras in dental practice has been increasing over the years, and many dentists are embracing it due to the numerous benefits it provides.
One of the early adopters of digital photography is Dr. Gordon Chee, owner of Aesthetic Dental Studio in Alberta, Canada. We sat down with Dr. Chee to discuss how he was able to translate his love for photography into a practice that is well integrated and highly effective for both his patients and clinicians, and how other clinics would be able to make the most of digital dental photography in a rapidly innovating landscape.
From Digital Photography to Dental Photography
With 20 years of experience, Dr. Chee has been able to build expertise in the field of dentistry while discovering and honing best practices as the times have changed. He found his roots in photography first as a hobby, when he had his first child and wanted to take family portraits with a professional camera.
His scope evolved into landscape photography and studio portraiture as the years went by, until he began seeing dentists from other countries publishing photos taken in their dental office. This sparked inspiration to incorporate his skills as a photographer into the clinic, as Dr. Chee stated, “It’s not just the art but it really gets the work that you’re doing in front of people.”
Eventually, he was to bridge his penchant for digital photography and the day to day work he does for patients as dental photography was successfully integrated into the workflow for Aesthetic Dental Studio. With this practice, Dr. Chee and his staff are able to showcase the work that they do while bolstering patient confidence because they have visual records of results.
How Dental Photography Can Benefit Your Practice
The use of digital cameras in dentistry has several benefits, and Dr. Chee can attest to 3 primary use cases.
With an accurate visual representation of dental cases, dental clinics and labs are better able to collaborate to treat a patient. Digital images can be easily sent to the lab for fabrication of restorations, dentures, and other dental implants, saving time and ensuring precision.
When patients can visualize the success of their dental journey, they are more likely to trust the process. Digital photography enhances case acceptance as patients can see digital models of results before the procedure. This helps to build trust and increase patient satisfaction.
Dental clinics can leverage successful treatments to be more hardworking by using them as proof points to gain more business. Digital photography is an excellent marketing tool as it showcases the caliber of dentistry, what you’re capable of doing and gets your work in front of people.
As the landscape of dentistry evolves to accommodate more innovations, clinics like Aesthetic Dental Studio are able to rise with the tide by evolving alongside it. While it may take a while to achieve success and there definitely is a learning curve, more and more dentists like Dr. Chee are reaping the benefits of these innovations and encouraging other practices to do the same.
Getting Started & Helpful Dental Photography Tips
A great place to begin when transitioning from traditional methods to more digital techniques would be to learn best practices from those who have had success prior. For one, Dr. Chee recommends taking a good dental photography course to pick up the technical aspects before translating these skills into the lab.
He goes on to explain the importance of getting to know the settings on your camera and the practice that dentists and clinical staff need to put in throughout this process. The particulars of dental photography are also highly dependent on the details you would need to document, and so it would be a good starting point to understand the type of dentistry you want to do.
For example, if you’re taking mainly posterior images of molars and premolars, a ring flash would probably work best. However, if you’re into anterior aesthetics, he recommends using twin flashes or flashes on a bracket for better side lighting on the front teeth. Capturing images accurately is crucial to effective dental photography, so he urges clinics to watch out for lighting conditions, positioning, and color saturation.
As dentists and other clinical staff become more proficient in using dental photography equipment, they can increase their accuracy and speed with the entire process taking only a few minutes.
We live in the digital age where the constant churn of innovation changes what businesses need to do to keep up with the market, and the dental industry is no exception.
Digital photography in dentistry is a critical component of modern dental practice, and it goes hand in hand with the ecosystem of digital dentistry, alongside methods such as digital design, CAD/CAM, and remote patient management.
Just as Dr. Gordon Chee and Aesthetic Dental Studio have shown us, actively participating in these newer methods empowers dental clinics to be more efficient, build more patient trust, and gain more traction for new business. Dr. Gordon also offers masterclasses for those wishing to elevate their practice.
With a few key components, digital photography can be a valuable tool for dentists to increase their revenue and exposure.
There is a growing number of dentists and dental clinics proving that the future of dentistry is bright and promising. Dental photography is just one of the many components it takes to become successful in the field of dentistry, and Evident is here to give a platform for experienced dentists to impart their knowledge. Watch the whole webinar here.
To learn more best practices from established specialists, feel free to explore our Digital Dentist Series.