6 Photos You Should be Taking of Every Patient

6 Photos You Should be Taking of Every Patient

This year I began implementing dental photography into my Southwest Portland dentist practice. Prior to starting this project, my staff and I knew very little about photography or even how to work a camera. Together we took a dental photography class and I was set up with an easy to use Canon camera from Pro Photo Supply in Portland. After a few weeks of trial and error, we have been successfully taking photos. If you aren’t already taking photos of your patients, you should start! Here are the benefits of adding these to your patient’s record:

How Patient Photography can Help Any Practice

There are six reasons why we take photos at my Southwest Portland dentist practice that every office could benefit from.

Treatment Planning/Diagnosis – A set of models can only lead you so far on those complex cases when you are treatment planning without the patient in your chair. Being able to view photos with the patient not in the chair is a time saver for you and the patient.

Patient Education – Photos allow the patient to share your view of their mouths. Cracked teeth, old fillings, decay, etc are more understandable to a patient when they can clearly visualize the problem.

Legal Documentation – Proper documentation of new patients may protect you in a lawsuit. Photos also can help with insurance verification and claims.

Referral to Specialists – Arm your specialists with all the information they could benefit from knowing prior to them seeing your patient. Photos of cracked teeth, malformations, lesions, etc. help the specialist get to know your patient in advance.

Laboratory Communication – Let your lab technician see the teeth they are reconstructing. This not only helps with shade matching but also adding in special characteristics that make their lab work match seamlessly.

Professional Development – Photos don’t lie! We all grow as dentists over our careers and photos allow us to closely critique our own cases. This is the biggest area that I have appreciated taking photos on my cases – being able to analyze what went well and what could be improved.

The 6 Photos Every Practice Should Take

Here are the 6 photos we take on every patient (it takes about 3-4 minutes):


The Full Face
The Full Smile
Upper Occlusal
Upper Occlusal






Lower Occlusal
Left-Side/Teeth Together
Right-Side/Teeth Together


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