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Shade Photography Introduction

Watch ceramist and CDT Mitch Bourgeois walk you through how we use digital photography to fluently communicate with doctors. It’s an indispensable way to meet the restoration needs of the patient and it’s almost as good as having them right here in the lab.


Dental technology has changed at a breakneck speed in recent years, and O’Brien Dental Lab has been at the forefront…not merely embracing the emerging but advancing it. From Mike O’Brien, to Derrick Luksch, innovation is who we are. We’ve come a long way since our early years of shade photography; from rolling our own 35mm film, to early digital cameras, to where we are today with state of the art capability that goes from the patient to the technician.

Advances in dental technology, as well as esthetic and cosmetic dentistry, have also raised the challenges of communicating the needs and desires of the patient and doctor, to the dental lab. But it’s our commitment to those very technologies that gives us the unprecedented ability to do what couldn’t be done in the past: to, in effect, bring every patient, no matter how far away, into the lab.

The use of high-quality digital photography has allowed the doctor’s office to communicate the restoration needs of the individual as never before. Properly photographed, we have access to information that is almost as good as having the patient in our shade room, seeing them for ourselves.

O’Brien Dental Lab is committed to helping your office, learn to use, and grow in the skilled use, of this tool. Communication of shade: the combination of Chroma, Hue, and Value, as well as the individual character of the adjacent dentition, is critical to a successful, pleasing outcome. Patient photographs sent to our lab, are linked to the patient’s case, and available to every technician, at any time, during the production cycle of the restoration.

The ability to review photos in real time with doctors or staff, to compare and evaluate, to help determine the best products and treatment plan, are all benefits of digital photography well done. It’s the communication of more than words; it is communication of sight.

Advancing, and embracing what works best, and making it better, is in our DNA.

Whether it’s a single gold onlay, or full mouth restoration, we are here to bring out the best possible result, and advanced digital photography and shade communication, is key.

Dental photography is practical art. We can help you learn the basics, or coach you in improving what you already do now.
Welcome to the possibilities of digital photography.