Shade communication is one of the most challenging things we do, and is a critical step in success. On the technicians side they are asked to produce an artistic reduction of a tooth with very limited knowledge of the person, what they or their teeth look like. To assist them we can send photography, and lots of it. In addition to our routine photos there are several specific images I take for shade communication on anterior teeth. The first is an image for translucency. I want the technician to capture the character of the incisal edge enamel so they can reproduce it. The first step is to clean and dry the teeth. Using retractors that are positioned higher to pull the upper lip out of the way shoot a close -up from canine to canine. For this image the camera should be positioned from 60 degrees above the labial surface of the teeth. I utilize a black contraster that I purchased from PhotoMed to accentuate the translucency.
An image needs to be taken to capture surface morphology. With the retractors positioned the same way as the translucency shot, and your black contraster in place take this image with the camera perpendicular to the labial tooth surface. For both of these images you can bracket the shots. Take one properly exposed, one slightly underexposed and one slightly overexposed by altering the aperture between images. Bracketing will add depth to the information you send the ceramist.