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Dental Photography: Taking Pictures of Your (FMX) X-rays

January 11th, 2013 No comments

 

I have had several inquiries concerning “photographing” x-rays and Pans with your digital camera. For this blog, I used a Point and Shoot Canon Power Shot G12 outfitted for dental photography but any dental camera will work.

Colored Picture of X-ray

Colored Picture of X-ray

If you are taking a picture of a single x-ray, like a bitewing, then you will need to attach the cameras special magnifying adapter or with other cameras zoom in until you frame the image . For a panorex or a full FMX then leave the adapter off. The example given is for an FMX.

Camera Settings:

  1. Put your camera in Program (“P” on the mode dial).
  2. Turn the cameras flash off. Usually the off/on looks like a lightening bolt on the back of your camera.
  3. Zoom in all of the way framing what you want.
  4. Turn your camera to “Black and White;” gray scale. Located by pushing the “function/Set button;” jog down to “My Colors.” Jog right or left to B&W; Black&White. With other cameras, explore the menus until you see B&W.
  5. Change your ISO to 400. The default is 100.
  6. Put camera on Manual Focus (MF).
  7. Optional, put your cameras quality setting to its highest file size, Super Fine. Usually found under Function/Set

Reasons for the settings: The flash needs to be off to avoid reflection highlights from occurring on the film. The view
box provides enough light for your camera not to shake.

A colored image results in a picture with a blue cast. This has to do with the wavelength of florescent lights from the view box. That is why you should set your camera to

Turn camera setting to Black & White

Turn camera setting to Black & White

Black and white (gray scale).
The ISO is moved higher to reduce camera shake and the higher quality

setting lets you zoom in more so you can crop off a single x-ray.

Then, put the FMX on the view box, move closer or farther getting the camera in focus,  lock your elbows to your side to reduce shake and push the shutter.

Cropped picture

Cropped.

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dennis_bio_wp_marginAbout the author: Dennis Braunston is the Founder of Dental Learning Centers®, and a leader in dental technology since 1990. He is recognized as a pioneer and expert at teaching digital photography, cosmetic imaging and case presentation in dentistry. Dennis has developed a number of successful dental products, and is an author and nationally recognized key note speaker. As an accredited continuing education provider Dennis has trained Dentists around the world on best practices in Dental imaging and photography. For more information, contact Dennis Braunston at Dental Learning Centers: dennis@dlcenters.com; www.dlcenters.com.

Follow Dennis on: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog

Are Intraoral Cameras useful in Communicating Shade?

January 11th, 2013 No comments

I recently met up with my good friend, James Gallagher, on the empty exhibitor floor at the Greater NY Dental Meeting. Hurricane Sandy, kept attendance down. James, located in Boston, works for Digital Doc Intraoral Cameras. He said that he is IOCsometimes asked if Intraoral Cameras are capable of taking meaningful shades.  My initial response was no but how often do we use conjecture as opposed to really knowing the truth. I decided to get an objective answer.

To accomplish this, we compared an Intraoral camera picture of his teeth with a nice point and shoot digital camera (The DentalFoto Canon G12)  http://www.dlcenters.com/systems.php

We analyzed both pictures in a computerized Shade program called ClearMatch. This program objectively determines shade.

Digital Doc is one of the best, if not the best intraoral camera, BUT it fell short for shade communication. The images file size, 640 x 480 = 91k,  is small and does not provide enough detail for any practical shade communication. Intraoral cameras do a good job of showing the appearance of cracked teeth but not shade. The digital camera has resolution of 2816 x 2112 = 1,500k

In conclusion, use a digital camera for shade communication not an intraoral camera.

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dennis_bio_wp_marginAbout the author: Dennis Braunston is the Founder of Dental Learning Centers®, and a leader in dental technology since 1990. He is recognized as a pioneer and expert at teaching digital photography, cosmetic imaging and case presentation in dentistry. Dennis has developed a number of successful dental products, and is an author and nationally recognized key note speaker. As an accredited continuing education provider Dennis has trained Dentists around the world on best practices in Dental imaging and photography. For more information, contact Dennis Braunston at Dental Learning Centers: dennis@dlcenters.com; www.dlcenters.com.

Follow Dennis on: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dental Photography Challenges: Unusual lighting situations…

June 28th, 2010 No comments

Imagine pushing a magic button that allows you to see three dimensionally through a tooth; you see caries, cracks, and more…

I was recently giving a photography course at Dr. Ernie Casares office in San Diego, California. When we were finished he showed me a very cool gadget called a MicroLux Trans Illuminator. He puts its condensed LED light behind the patients tooth and it turns the tooth from opaque to translucent, revealing cracks, craze lines and fissures. Wow – Everything lights up like a Jack-O-Lantern! Dr. Casares says it also reveals subgingival calculus and the root canal orifice. I am not a dentist but might find it thrilling to see a root canal orifice. But I digress…

We thought it would be exciting and educational to take a picture of the event for documentation and patient show and tell, but we found it to be challenging.

You have to have some working knowledge of camera controls to translate what a picture is telling you. In essence, we were trying to photograph a bright light, like a star in the night sky. The images using the cameras close up settings did not come out clearly, but after we made a few adjustments we figured out the optimal settings to take a high light-contrast photo.

I knew right away to turn the cameras flash off because the tooth was much too illuminated to see anything of value. Viewing it through my own eyes the tooth was a bit too bright to see a lot of detail, which tells me I need to adjust two settings.

The two settings are aperture and shutter speed. Together, they affect depth of field and how much light is allowed to come through. We put the camera in “aperture” priority (Av) which allows us to adjust how much light will enter the shutter, similar to how a person’s irises work. The camera will decide on the shutter speed. Initially, the photo results were not good; the light caused the illuminated tooth to be over exposed and the rest of the picture to be under exposed.

An analogy would be a performer on a stage being lit by a spotlight. A majority of the surrounding stage is dark. You take a picture and find that the performer, the subject you want to see, is over exposed, they look white. It is not the cameras fault; it simply balances the amount of white to dark and sets an exposure.

The opposite occurs when the majority of the background is white. Your target will appear darker than it actually is. This may occur when you are in the snow or if you have a powerful flash that reflects too much off of the surroundings.

The solution was to use the cameras “exposure compensation [Ev].” This feature over-rides the shutter speed and or aperture settings, making them either shorter or longer than what is normal for the camera. So, if you want the picture darker, which was the case because the lit tooth was over exposed (too white), you go from zero towards the minus side. We set the Ev to a -2 (minus 2) and got great results.

Settings:

1. Aperture priority (put your camera in Av or A)

2. F-stop 5.6

3. ISO was 80

4. Flash Off

5. Exposure compensation at -2 or a similar setting

6. Normal lighting in the operatory

7. Keep your hand steady to compensate for the slower shutter speed

8. Zoom the camera to encompass about 8 teeth

Other situations where camera knowledge comes to play is VelScope Photography and taking portraits of people of dark complexion.

[ http://digital-photography-school.com/ev-compensation-explained ]

Cameras for dental photography – Choosing a camera

June 16th, 2010 1 comment

There are similarities, tradeoffs; advantages and disadvantages to both classes of today’s cameras: the Digital SLR and Point-and-Shoot.

(NOTE: only a few Point-and-Shoot cameras have been adapted to work for dental photography. The DentalFoto System uses the Canon G11, has a custom made lens and is pre-programmed for dental photography. Free phone training with purchase or in-office workshops www.dlcenters.com, 425-557-7788)

The digital SLR has greater depth of field and requires a ring flash.  BUT it is…

  • Heavy and awkward
  • Takes two people to make images (one holding the camera the other steadying the camera).
  • Not easy to see through (squinting with one eye through a small viewing hole).

Point and shoot cameras like the Canon G11 are easier to master than an SLR and they are light in weight (16 ounces) enabling one person to take images. Also, the G11 has a large viewing LCD at almost 3 inches in diameter. That is much easier on the eyes!

Differences
DSLR Point & Shoot
Greater Depth of Field
Raw Pictures Canon G11
Weight 4 lbs (two hand operation) 16 oz (single hand operation)
# Of People to Take Pictures Two People One person
Ring Flash
Through the Lens (TTL)
LCD View Finder
Focusing Manual Automatic
Cost $2,500 $1,595
Video capability/Audio Notes
Ease of Use

Both systems are capable of taking very good pictures and both have limitations and strengths. Decisions should be made based on those advantages and disadvantages and the commitment from the staff to learn how to use the camera and take clinic-appropriate pictures. My experience says ease of use favors the point and shoot camera.

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