How Facial Reference Photography Improves Patients’ Dental Experience

These days, pretty much everyone carries a digital camera around in their pockets.

As one of the most dominant and continually improved features of our smartphones, most of us can say we turn to our cameras more than ever. We use our phones not only to capture important moments but to share information, record the progress of personal projects, and generally document our day-to-day lives.

In the world of dentistry, we’ve made a similar evolution through the years.

Digital photography has grown into such a valuable tool in educating patients, planning treatments, and tracking progress – not to mention legal and insurance documentation – that dentistry schools now teach entire classes just on dental photography.

At Mill Point Dental in Bend, digital photography plays a crucial role in all these aspects of our clinic and more.

We’ve invested highly in digital photography equipment – DSLR cameras, various lenses, lighting, and even intra-oral photography equipment – to ensure our patients not only get the best possible care but are fully educated throughout the process.

Facial Reference Photography

Facial reference photography is the practice of visually recording how the features of your mouth, jaw, teeth, and smile line up with the other features of your face. The photos we take provide our patients and us with a baseline record of these features before making any oral wellness or aesthetic changes.

Our goal is to capture what our patients’ facial features look like the first time they step into our clinic. Once we have the photos, we can look back on them for comparison when planning treatments, tracking progress, measuring imbalances, or simply educating the patient.

When they first come in, we typically take several facial reference photos of our patients, including:

  • Full photo of the face, not smiling
  • Photo of the face, smiling
  • Profile photo
  • Lip-at-rest photo
  • Picture of patient’s bite
  • Molar photos
  • Upper & lower arch images
  • Full arch photo

Why is Dental Photography Important?

Yes, recording problems and procedures for insurance purposes is one reason dentists take photos of patients. But, such documentation has also emerged as an increasingly important component of the patient experience, not to mention patient outcomes.

At Mill Point Dental, photography has become invaluable in the following ways:

Patient Education & Communication: By showing patients photos of dental issues such as crowding, cracks, wear patterns, and even how their smiles may differ on one side of the face than the other, they can more fully understand the problems and the rationale behind proposed procedures and treatments. Photos, then, help make our conversations with patients much more honest and less speculative.

Treatment Planning: Photos allow us as dentists to take a fuller, more in-depth look at oral issues both acutely and as part of the bigger picture, such as a patient’s smile or bite. We also provide patients with potential post-treatment mockups to help them determine (with our professional guidance) what treatment plans may be best for their long-term health and aesthetic goals.

Tracking Progress: A lot of treatments in dentistry take time and effort. From cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening to partial or full reconstructions, photos allow us to track progress so patients can be assured their investments are solid and the treatments/procedures are working. From a dentist’s perspective, this also helps us stay on track while identifying any potential, slow-developing issues that may derail progress.

To learn more about dental photography and how it’s used at Mill Point Dental in Bend, or to take advantage of the benefits thorough facial reference photography can offer new patients, contact us to set up an appointment by calling (541) 388-0078.