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Use of Digital Photography to Improve Composite Resin Selection and Material Placement

Digital photography has become essential in modern dentistry. In addition to providing enhanced communication between collaborating dentists, high-quality imagery can also be a valuable diagnostic tool in direct composite procedures. There are many composite systems currently available with various opacities, shades, tints, and physical properties, which can replicate almost any natural situation. As advances in material science have improved the performance of composite resins, it is the skill of the clinicians that primarily influences the restorative outcome. The greatest obstacles lie in determining where to layer the various composites and envisioning the final result prior to placement. Digital photographs taken prior to and during treatment may assist the practitioner in shade selection and composite layering for natural-looking restorations.

*Private practice, Eureka, Missouri


Learning Objectives:

This podcast presents a case in which digital photographs assisted in the shade selection for a direct composite procedure. Upon completion of this podcast, the listener should:

  • Recognize the benefits of capturing high-quality images prior to and during a procedure.
  • Be aware of how digital photographs can assist in composite shade and layering technique selection.


Related Reading:

  1. Fahl N Jr. A polychromatic composite layering approach for solving a complex Class IV/direct veneer/diastema combination: Part 1. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 2006;18(10):641-645.
  2. Milnar F. A minimal intervention approach to the treatment of a class IV fracture. J Cosmet Dent 2006;21(4):106-112.
  3. Griffin JD Jr. Assessing aesthetic composite veneer placement via digital photography. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 2007;19(5):289-294.
  4. Terry DA, Leinfelder KF. An integration of composite resin with natural tooth structure: The Class IV restoration. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 2004;16(3):235-242.
  5. Chyz G. Postorthodontic restoration of worn incisal edges. Contemp Esthet 2006;10(4):36-39.
  6. Fahl N Jr. Achieving ultimate anterior esthetics with a new microhybrid composite. Compend Contin Educ Dent 2000;26(Suppl):4-13.
  7. Da Costa J, Ferracane J, Paravina RD, et al. The effect of different polishing systems on surface roughness and gloss of various resin composites. J Esthet Restor Dent 2007;19(4):214-224. 
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