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Photography in dentistry: Storing, modifying and publishing pictures

17.06.2019
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Photography has become a valuable resource in daily dental practice, revolutionizing the way clinicians diagnose, treat and communicate with patients and colleagues. We gave he floor to the expert, Dr. Pasquale Loiacono, who shared tips and tricks for achieving a quality dental image.

Dr. Pasquale Loiacono | Italy

Suppose a dentist wants to document a GBR treatment for a publication. What shots should they take?
Dr. Loiacono: First of all, it is necessary to obtain a basic documentation of the pre-operative state that includes at least the extraoral photos of the face and lips at rest, both frontally and laterally, and the smile in its three positions (light, medium and forced). The area of surgical interest must then be photographed in a perspective that is at least frontal, but if possible, also occlusal, using a mirror, to show the breadth of the bone and gum volumes. If the area to be treated is lateral, lateral mirrors must obviously be used. It is recommended to take intra-surgical photos with the same perspectives and magnifications in order to facilitate comparisons between different therapeutic steps. Regarding the settings, it should be remembered that the more you enlarge, the more you close the diaphragm and extend the depth of field. (Fig. 1) The big problem with surgical photography is bleeding, so it is necessary to carefully prepare the equipment and decide the framing, and only when all the photographic parameters have been established, invite the assistant to aspirate and remove as much blood as possible, while taking the photo as quickly as possible.

Storing pictures can be a challenge. Do you recommend a particular strategy?
Dr. Loiacono: The strategy is definitely never to trust your own PC (laughs)! I suggest having at least one backup disk activated for daily backup. To this should be added a second backup disk, but kept in a place away from the first one (in case of unfortunate events). Alternatively, other possibilities are obviously network-attached storage (NAS), a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous group of clients, or Cloud storage. The physical connections of the hard disks are an additional concern. They often change with new digital development processes, so you always have to update your hard disks.
 

Do you recommend modifying pictures?
Dr. Loiacono: We should, of course, modify as little as possible. The photo must already be beautiful and usable to start. Moreover, the idea of acquiring a wrong or ugly photo and thinking there are many corrections possible using software is a misconception. Allowed are magnification and exposure corrections, and it is always better to slightly overexpose. On the other hand, you should not correct perspective and/or depth of field.
 

Any preference for any particular software?
Dr. Loiacono: One of the best software packages available on the market for these purposes is Adobe® Photoshop Lightroom. The Develop Mode has all the necessary tools for making the improvements
we just discussed. One of the most important features of Lightroom software is the way it treats files. It is not destructive, the original files remain untouched, so you can always return to the original file in the file history. In addition, the software allows working with different file types, in cluding RAW, jpg, TIFF, psd, and png. However, I always recommend working with the RAW file.
 

What would be a summary of how images should look for lectures or publications and print?

Dr. Pasquale Loiacono

Dr. Pasquale Loiacono | Italy

Private Practice, Tropea

Interview conducted by Dr. Giulia Cerino

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