Six basic shots for Digital Smile Design


The Digital Smile Design protocol according to Dr. Christian Coachman requires at least six basic photographs, which will let you plan your case.dsd-1


You can use these photographs for planning your case by yourself, or you can send them to the DSD Virtual Lab for planning.

What will you need:
DSLR camera (smartphone photography/video is also used by some clinicians)
Two single retractors
One box of gloves
Suction tip or cotton rolls as space holders

The first two photographs of the face need to be taken with head fixed in the same position. These shots are important for proper planning and transitions in between retracted and full smile views.

Camera settings for full-face shots are the same:
Mode: Manual (M) or Aperture Priority (A/Av)
Aperture f/11
Shutter Speed: 1/60-1/200
Auto Focus (Focus on eye)

Ask your patient to sit on a stool next to the wall or door and use the box of gloves and place it in between the neck of the patient and wall. Ask your patient to gently press the box of gloves against the wall to hold it in the position.


The Photo above: Head positioning and fixation with the box of gloves

– Place retractors and ask the patient to hold them with their mouth open
– Cut a piece of a suction tip or take a cotton roll and put it in between the molars and ask your patient to close the mouth until a gap of 1-2 mm space in between upper and lower front teeth is achieved. Ask the patient to maintain this position (do not squeeze). Pay attention to deviations of the mandibles.


Take your position and take photo.


1 The photo above: Retracted front view with the teeth apart – fixed head position.

Ask your patient not to move until the next photo is taken.

  • Gently remove retractors.
  • Maintain your position.
  • Ask the patient to look straight into the lens and smile without changing their head position. Ask for an “EEE” sound.
  • Take the photo.


2. The photo above: Full-smile front view with the teeth apart– fixed head position.


3 The photo above: Take the photo of one of the patient’s profile with lips and teeth in contact. Camera settings are the same as above.


4. The photo above: Photo of the same profile but with a full smile


5. The photo above: 12 o’clock photo. You have two options for taking this photo.

Option 1: Patient in a dental chair in horizontal position. Take your position behind the head of the patient (12 o’clock) and point your camera to see in the viewfinder the head of the patient from chin to forehead. Ask the patient to smile and set the focus point on the front upper teeth surface. Before taking the shot ask the patient to look back into the lens of your camera without moving the head. Take the photo.


Option 2: Position the patient on a stool with their elbows supported on their knees. Ask the patient to hold their head in a relaxed position. Take your position in the front of the patient, and then he or she should make a full smile and raise their eyes into the direction of the lens without changing the position of their head. Take the photo.


Next photo is an occlusal view of the upper arch – from the central incisors to the first premolars minimum:


6. The Photo above: Occlusal view of the upper arch – from the central incisors to the first premolars minimum.

Option 1: with the intraoral occlusal mirror


Option 2: with the patient sitting on a stool with their head raised up.


If you are a subscribed user of Dental Photo Master online platform you can watch video lesson related to this topic:

Digital Smile Design Photos

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