Custom shade photography is an essential part of dental restorations especially when it comes to anterior restorations. Many doctors will send their patient to the dental lab to get a custom shade done when in reality with the proper equipment and training all custom shades can be done in office by the dental assistants.

We will go over the essential steps to taking custom shade photography in the doctors office. Doing this will help the laboratory have a better understanding of what the needs of the doctors patient is and the doctor will get a high quality and accurate product. Request free in office hands on training here.

Step 1: Full Facial with Natural Smile

The goal of this photo is to capture a natural smile at the occlusal plane. This gives a the laboratory a visual of the relationship of the lips and how they frame the teeth.

Step 2: Close Up with Chosen Shade Tab

The goal of this photo is to show the relationship of the chosen shade tab to the adjacent tooth that the new restoration will be sitting next to. The tab should be held near the adjacent tooth at at the same plane. Doing this will allow both the tooth and the tab to capture and reflect the same light which will allow the most accurate color representation.

Step 3: Close Up of Adjacent Tooth

The goal of this photo is to grasp the characteristics of the the adjacent tooth. This close up will give the laboratory insight into how the adjacent tooth looks so that they can create the most natural and best matching tooth possible.

Camera Settings

For optimal results you should be using a DSLR camera with a ring flash and a macro lens preferably a 100mm lens. Shooting in manual mode with the following settings Will give you beautiful results.

1. Full Facial Profile – F3.5 | ISO 400 | 1/250
2. Close Up Shots – F32 | ISO 400 | 1/250

Flash on ETTL mode at a negative one third (-1/3)
Focus on Auto

Tips & Best Practices

• In order to minimize glare it often helps to shoot slightly down at an angle on the teeth or to ask the patient to tilt their chin down slightly towards their chest.
• Keep shade tab in same plane as other teeth to give the most accurate color representation.
• The more information the laboratory has the better so don’t be scared to take several photos.