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Clinical Tip: Dental Photography as a Laboratory Communication Tool

BRADLEY C. BOCKHORST, DMD

by Bradley C. Bockhorst, DMD

Patient photographs are one of the most useful tools available to a clinician when working up a case and communicating with the laboratory, and they can be especially helpful when treating edentulous cases. For a trial denture setup, tooth arrangement, shade, midline, vertical dimension of occlusion and closest speaking space can be evaluated. When deciding between an overdenture and a screw-retained denture, a trial denture without a labial flange can be used to evaluate the transition line in relation to the smile line and midface support. Including photographs with your lab prescription can prove invaluable in helping the technician achieve your desired treatment goals.

The images that follow illustrate this technique. Like the old axiom states: A picture can say a thousand words!

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Figure 1a: With the patient’s lips closed, measure the vertical dimension of occlusion. Then ask the patient to swallow and let his or her lower jaw relax to evaluate the vertical dimension at rest.

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Figure 1b: With the patient’s lips slightly open, evaluate the incisal edge position and closest speaking space by asking the patient to pronounce “f,” “ch” and “s” sounds.

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Figure 2a: Smile line.

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Figure 2b: High smile line.

A trial denture without a labial flange can be used to evaluate the transition line in relation to the smile line and mid-face support.

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Figure 3a: Smile line without prosthesis.

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Figure 3b: High smile line without prosthesis. NOTE: The maxillary ridge can be seen.

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Figure 4a: Profile with labial flange.

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Figure 4b: Profile without labial flange.

Including photographs with your lab prescription can prove invaluable in helping the technician achieve your desired treatment goals.

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Figure 5a: Evaluating the incisal horizontal plane in relation to the interpupillary line.

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Figure 5b: Evaluating the midline.

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