8th General Meeting

The New APO Website and Dental Photography
February 6, 2008
by Dr. Bob Eustaquio & Dr. Glen Gonzales

It was Wednesday morning, February 6, 2008 when Dr. Alan Roa, member of the Philippine Acedemy of Esthetic Dentistry (PAED) and former dean of the College of Dentistry, National University delivered a lecture on Basic Intra-Oral Photography for the 8th general meeting of the Association of Philippine Orthodontists (APO) at the Rockwell Club, Makati City .

For both orthodontics and esthetic dentistry, photography serves as a useful tool for diagnosis, treatment plan presentation and documentation. The production of sharp, color accurate, beautiful images is desired.

The lecture began with a brief history of the evolution of Photography, from the former ubiquitous use of film cameras, to the advanced digital cameras of today. With proper technique and the proper settings (shutter speed, aperture priority, etc.), film cameras can deliver good results. Output would either be printed pictures or powerpoint carousel slides. Film single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, coupled with good lighting ( preferably from a ring flash) would be best for intra-oral photography. With good illumination, pictures show adequate detail. The main disadvantage of film cameras is that one needs to wait for the film to be developed in order to see whether the image taken is of adequate quality. This limitation is no longer an issue with the introduction of digital cameras.

For digital intra-oral photography, both non-SLR and Digital SLR cameras may be used. Point and shoot digital cameras are usually reasonably affordable nowadays, with a lot of dentists owning one. They’re becoming very compact and easily pocketable. Due to their relatively small size and reduced weight, taking intra-oral photographs with them can be a bit of challenge, as either steady hands or anti-shake technology is necessary for adequate results. There’s also the added disadvantage of these digital cameras having less than ideal lens focal length ( which ideally should be 100 mm or more ) for dental photography. Because of this, distortions (fish-eye) may occur.

Digital prosumer cameras with extended zoom are a little better, because of the longer lens focal length. Still, digital slr cameras are better.

For both point and shoot and extended zoom digital cameras, optimal illumination is necessary for acceptable results. Ideally, a ring flash apparatus should be used. If the cost of a ring flash is prohibitive or if a ring flash compatible with the camera is simply not available, a make-shift light dispersion apparatus made from white pvc plastic may be used. This will help minimize if not avoid shadows in the final image.

Digital slr cameras, with full manual settings and compatible with lenses having 100 mm focal length are the ideal digital cameras for professional dental photography. With proper technique, the output images are distortion free and very accurate. A higher learning curve, however, is involved with the use of digital slr’s. Before, owning a digital slr used to be extremenly cost-prohibitive. Thankfully, nowadays these cameras, together with their accessories are becoming relatively more affordable.

The first speaker was Ms. Bituin Aquino who spoke on the highlights of APO’s newly designed website www.apo.com.ph. She with her husband Arnold are website designers and are the reason why our site has been upgraded and ever since January our site has received more than 25,000 hits. She spoke on each member’s email editable email address, the website features, the unique animated member photographs on display. It is because of the website that the Association of Phlippine Orthodontists and Philippine Board of Orthodontics is becoming nationally-known AND internationally too even being featured on the Gazette of the World Federation of Orthdontists (WFO).

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