A New Era in Dental Photography

A New Era in Dental Photography


Nowadays, photography is becoming more powerful in dentistry and dentists
are trying so hard to take good pictures for different purposes. For that reason a
professional camera with all the accessories (ring flash, twin flash, macro-lens…)
is needed, but not everyone can afford it or knows how to use it in the right way.

Smart phones have come a long way in digital photography due to the fact that those cameras have some interesting features and characteristics that are beneficial for dental photography:

1. Very small aperture due to the small size of the camera and its diaphragm. Therefore, a very high depth of field is achieved on a regular basis.

2. Good ISO settings adding more light sensitivity to the camera with low noise.

3. Rather good resolution to show small details.

4. Large display to preview and view the images, especially when using smart phones with large screens.

5. Battery autonomy that allows working for many hours.

6. The white balance, exposure, focus, ISO, metering and the shutter speed can be modified manually in some cameras.

7. Smart phones are light and easy to operate.

Since everyone has a mobile phone with a great camera, all our focus in the last two years was to improve the quality of the pictures taken by this simple device, and this is how the MDP (mobile dental photography) idea was born.
Whether we are using a Mobile Phone Camera or a DSLR Camera, the following accessories are always needed: Mirrors, retractors, contrastors and light. Light is a fundamental part of photography. Different types of lighting were tested to achieve the desired outcome. Two main types of light were chosen: daylight and an artificial light (Smile Lite).
In the pursuit of a universal color matching system, the Smile Lite (Smile Line, Switzerland) was developed to provide ideal light conditions (5,500 K = daylight) and polarized light in one unique device.

[1] Anterior picture with black contrastor

[2] Posterior picture, direct view

 [3] Anterior picture with the details

[5] Anterior picture with diffusers


For MDP we were using one or two Smile Lite devices for one picture. For example to have something equivalent of the twin Flashes for DSLR pictures we can use two Smile Lites, one from each side.
The main problem with Smile Lite is that you need an assistant to help positioning the light and the pictures are not always reliable because of the distance changing between the two Smile Lites in every picture.
That’s how we got the idea to develop a new device, 100% dedicated to mobile dental photography, based on the technology used for Smile Lite, but with a standard distance between the lights, two diffusers and a polarizer. The different prototypes and solutions tested led us to use a slightly colder light, on our opinion more appropriate for mobile dental photography. The system is very easy to use and gives repeatable results: this is the new Smile Lite MDP (Figs. 4, 11).

[4] Smile Lite MDP with the diffusers and the polarizer.
Made by Smile Line and powered by StyleItaliano.

[6] Posterior picture with a mirror

[7] Polarized picture

With Smile Lite MDP we can take all kinds of dental pictures:
• Anterior pictures (Figs. 1, 3, 5, 9)
• Posterior pictures (Figs. 2 and 6)
• Microphotography
• Polarized pictures (Fig. 7)
• Double polarized pictures (Fig. 10)

The procedure is so easy: Plug the Smile Lite MDP, open your mobile camera, zoom, focus, and take the picture, most of the time in Auto Mode. The results are very promising; by comparing pictures taken with professional cameras (DSLR) and Smile Lite MDP, the difference is getting smaller (Fig. 8).
With the evolution of mobile cameras, the future of MDP is becoming brighter.

[8] One of these pictures is taken with Smile Lite MDP, the other one with a professional camera (DSLR). The difference is not obvious.

[9] Anterior picture with Smile Lite MDP during a restorative procedure.

[10] Double polarized picture

[11] Smile Lite MDP with the mobile phone in place.


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Labline Magazine, 2013; 4 (2), pp. 108-129

[2] MasudaO, NascimentoSM. Lighting Spectrum to Maximize Colorfulness.
Opt Lett. 2012 Feb 1; 37(3):407-9

[3] SalatA, DevotoW, ManautaJ.
Achieving a Precise Color Chart with Common Computer Software for Excellence in Anterior Composite Restorations.
Eur J Esthet Dent 2011; 6:280–296

[4] VaniniL, ManganiF.
Determination and Communication of Color Using the Five Color Dimensions of Teeth.
Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 2001; 13:19–26

[5] JaintN, VermaP, MittalS, SinghAK,
Gender Based Alteration in Color Perception.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2010; 54(4):366-70

[6] NakhaeiM, GhanbarzadehJ, KeyvanlooS,
AlaviS, JafarzadehH.
Shade Matching Performance of Dental Students with Three Various Lighting
J Contemp Dent Pract 2013; 14(1):100-3

[7] ImburgiaM.
iPad for Dentistry.
Quintessenza Edizioni 2014, pp. 59-81


He graduated in dentistry in 1989 and continued his post-doctoral education at Saint Joseph University. Hecompleted his PhD in oral biology and materials in 2009.

At the present, he is head of the Restorative and Esthetic Department at Saint Joseph University Beirut-Lebanon and owns a private practice in his home town Byblos.

He is an active member of international StyleItaliano.

Prof. Hardan has many publications in international journals and has given several lectures on esthetic, restorativedentistry and mobile dental photography.