Sunday, November 5, 2017

Let's Be Honest...

At one of my recent presentations, I showed how one could make a class II end-on relationship look like a class I by manipulating the camera angle. It's not technically hard to understand and I don't think it's something that most dentists and orthodontists do on purpose, but the results speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, most orthodontists weren't given a great education about capturing exceptional clinical images and this weakness is translated into their assistants' skill.  So, when the pictures are taken, they naturally try their best to get all of the teeth in the arch. As a result, without exceptional use of the retractors and mirrors, the image needs to be captured from the front. What one gets is a misrepresentation of the Angle's classification, and it's an misrepresentation.

Note that I am not calling anyone a liar or a cheat. Instead, I am merely pointing out that an image taken from the front shows an untruthful representation of the patient's classification.

Look at the differences in the following two images:

The first one shows the patient's "real" occlusion. The lines drawn down the cuspid and mesial buccal cusp of the first molar show that the patient is essentially in a class II end-on relationship.

But, if the image is taken from the mesial (as we see most of the time), the patient magically becomes a class I relationship. Same patient. Same camera, mirror and retractors. Same moment in time.

How do we correct this problem?

The first thing we need to do is understand how to properly evaluate our images. The easiest way to do that is to figure out what we're looking at. In a lateral arch image, the bicuspids and molars should be parallel to our camera (or 90 degrees to the lens, depending on the way you see it). Look at the following image and notice that the yellow shaded area is directly facing the camera. 

The fact that I'm looking straight at the molars and bicuspids tells me that the image is an accurate representation of the arch, as if I was looking straight on at an articulator. However, when it's misrepresented, one will most commonly be looking straight on at the cuspid and lateral, as in the following picture.

Notice how the molars and bicuspids are "trailing away" in the image. That's a sure sign that the Angle's classification isn't being properly shown. 

So, how does one avoid this problem?

First, learn how to properly use mirrors and retractors. I know, it's easier said than done. There's a reason I traveled 120,000 miles a year teaching clinical photography. Most schools don't teach it enough or properly. There are also a ton of Youtube videos that simply show awful techniques with a ton of mistakes that I've tried to undo at a lot of offices. Taking great images should be really easy and I've got some simple suggestions:

(Note: I am recommending products from a company I own. While I developed these products as a result of working with tens of thousands of dentists in hands on presentations, if you have mirrors and retractors that are giving you exceptional images, then stay with them. I offer the following suggestions only because when I teach clinical photography, everyone asks me which mirrors and retractors I use and how they can be trained in clinical photography.)

             1. Use the right mirrors. Rhodium coated has been the standard for decades and while other coatings have come along, none has displaced rhodium. There's a reason that companies give away stainless steel mirrors for free when you buy a camera. They're really low quality and also scratch really easily. If you invest in a good set of rhodium mirrors, they'll last you for years. HERE is a set I've produced.
              2. Use the right retractors.  Don't try and do direct shots. If you don't involve a mirror, you'll never get exceptional images on a consistent basis. You'll also need certain sizes for certain shots (like the lateral and occlusal images) so don't just buy a set of retractors hoping they'll fit all instances. The set I've created HERE has all of the sizes you'll ever need.
              3. Learn how to use the mirrors and retractors. Yes, I know it sounds self serving, but until I can find a better option, I would suggest the DVD that I made which essentially follows me in clinic while taking a full set of images using mirrors and retractors, Yes, it's 10 years old, but I can promise you that if you use it, and have your assistants use it, their images will look awesome. You can buy it HERE.

If you but the mirrors and retractors from my site, the DVD will show you how to use them. Trust me when I tell you that overhead will keep me from getting rich off of mirrors and retractors, but until I can find a company making the shapes and sizes I've created, I'll keep recommending them.

Last, but not least, learn how to grade your images and make sure that you do so periodically. My previous post on how to evaluate images can be found HERE.

Don't get frustrated with clinical photography. It really is very easy to get great images and all you need to do is take the time to learn. Proper training and the right mirrors and retractors, along with proper practice will give you images like you never thought you could capture.

Wishing you an amazing day,
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If you want to come to learn more about an amazing business meeting for orthodontists, simply visit OP2018.com . We’ve got a world-class lineup of speakers, amazing food and an ambiance that will make you want to come back year after year. You can always email me at Glenn@OrthopreneursRD.com or message me on Facebook. I’m here to help.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The 18" ring light that's worth every penny (less than $75)...

Hi everyone.

So, you want awesome postoperative images to show off on social media. Do you want a picture of a patient up against a wall in your office? Maybe you want a white background from a white light box (ugh). Why not put your best foot forward and get a portrait studio in your office? Well, that takes a lot of space and money. Well, there is a solution....

I LOVE photography and have been lecturing internationally on the subject for over 15 years. I love all types of photography, but I'm not willing to spend the time, money or space to set up a studio in my office. Especially not since I came across the world of 18" ring lights.

These things are great. All they are is an 18" fluorescent light in a plastic housing. You plug them in, hold them in front of the patient and shoot through the opening. The result is a beautiful, quick image that you can post on social media and the look is unique, so your images will stand out.

This is just one example of an 18" ring light. It's so easy to use and set up.

My first ever shot with this light a few years ago. You can get amazing  portraits with soft, eve lighting with zero hassle. BTW-the wall isn't black, but depending on how close or far you are, your lighting can change the color of the background. Easy Peezy.

You can find them on Amazon for more money, so just go to eBay where you'll find tons of them.

Of course, it's the intraoral images where I get my best case acceptance and you should learn how to do those exceptionally well, but for quick posts of gorgeous patient faces and to make your patients look their best, go get yourself a ring light.

I promise, they're worth the $75.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Are New Fog Free Mirrors Worth It?

There's absolutely no reason to by these fancy gizmos to keep a mirror from fogging when you have many cheap and easy options available to do the same thing.

If you're like me, you probably saw this ad for the new "fog free mirrors" from Adenta and was interested if they made sense. Hopefully you remember the P.T. Barnum quote: "There's a sucker born every minute."

When using mirrors, there are a number of ways to keep them from fogging. The easiest and quickest is to use hot tap water. If you run your mirrors under the running hot water for just 10 seconds (and even better if you clean them with soap while doing it) you'll probably get 5 minutes of fog free use.

While it's a cool idea, there's absolutely no reason to have to spend the extra money on a fan to blow air on your mirror.

Instead, simply invest in our amazing rhodium coated mirrors with customized designs to make your life easier or perhaps our DVDs which will help you and your team take exceptional images in no time.

Click HERE to learn more.

Best wishes,

Friday, December 30, 2016

Stop Thinking Like A Clinician When It Comes To Images

Ever feel like you're searching for a good reason to take exceptional images?

Having taught clinical photography and techniques for better internal marketing and increased patient engagement for 20 years, I've had to learn a lot about those subjects. That's why I chuckle a little bit whenever the topic of "why take clinical images" is brought up in a social media group. The answers I see are interesting and usually include: "to help with documentation", "to show your objective", "to show/give patients before and afters", "for diagnosis" and so on. Those are all excellent reasons, but the main reason most people come to my courses, the primary thing that finally gets them to introduce a strong clinical photography protocol is simply put, to make more money from their practices.

There, I said it. I brought up the topic of making more money. For some of you, it makes perfect sense and for others, money and dentistry shouldn't be said in the same sentence. After all, we are professionals, and we have a moral and ethical code to do what's in our patients' best interests. Money shouldn't play a role in our decision making process. Right? Well, not really.

Would you agree that if every patient understood their current dental/orthodontic condition, I mean REALLY understood it, they would be far more likely to accept the best treatment alternative to fix it? If they did understand it at the highest level, and your case acceptance rate went up, wouldn't you make more money?

Then why aren't you doing that?!?!?!

Sure, you may be sending home some before and after images or showing prospective patients your finished cases. Maybe you have an online gallery on your website or finished smiles adorn your office walls. That's all good but very few, and I mean VERY few clinicians are thinking like non-clinicians...and thinking like a non-clinician is the best way to communicate with your patients.

I want you to imagine an ideal scenario: You come into the room, show a patient everything that's going on with the case, spend just a couple of minutes talking and then you leave the room and a highly qualified treatment coordinator explains everything and "sells" the case. Sounds similar to what you may be doing? Every dentist should be at least doing that much, but it's woefully inadequate and filled with areas where the process can fail.

So, how about we step it up a bit and instead of your treatment coordinator explaining it, the patient actually explains it to themselves? Huh???? How does that happen, you ask? Easy.

The process is called "digital co-diagnosis" and I first wrote about it in a 3 part series in Dental Economics back in 2007. It's like digital case presentation, with one big difference: the patient diagnoses the case and the words come out of their mouth, not yours. Sounds odd, right? Here's how it works: I could tell you about a cavity, show you a picture and then tell you how to fix it, or using digital co-diagnosis, I could show you a high quality image and lead you down a path to where YOU tell me that you need a filling. Let me give you an example.

In orthodontics, we talk about bite related problems all day long. I could show you an image of your bite (class II end on) and then describe all the reasons why you should be class I.  I could talk about the TMJ, occlusion, wear, blah, blah, blah... (stuff that's important to us clinicians).  I could even show you a picture of a class I and show you the differences, hoping that I've made a good connection with you and that you'll start treatment, all the time thinking like a clinician, not a salesman. (Note: If I want you to buy what I'm selling, I better be thinking like a salesman. Oh, BTW, salesman does not mean an unethical salesman. Sales and ethics have nothing to do with one another but that's a different topic.)

Now imagine that I show you some images and don't say a word. I let you see everything that I'm looking at while I survey the dental landscape. Just for 30 seconds or so, but long enough for you to get a glimpse of your teeth like you never have before. Then, I ask you (and I am thoroughly shortening the process for right now) what differences you see between the image of a perfect bite that I have on the wall right next to the monitor, versus what you see on the screen. Perhaps I nudge you a bit with questions like: "Do your teeth come together like gears [showing the picture on the wall of a treated class I as I say it] or do they hit more 'point to point' like rocks hitting against one another?", "Which seems healthier with less long term wear; the gears or rocks hitting one another?" followed by "How would you classify your bite; gears or points hitting one another?" then "Would you like to talk about how to get your teeth to hit like the ones in the picture on the wall?"

I know the the differences may seem subtle, but there is a massive difference in patient engagement and case acceptance when a patient actually answers the aforementioned questions with answers like "No, they don't come together like gears. They look like points against points and it seems like it's less healthy than gears coming together. You mean there's a way to fix that? Sure, I'd love to talk about it." This is what I hear every day. Sure it takes a lot of practice and training to get the verbal skills right, but you'll spend less time with patients and get way more engagement and personal responsibility from the patients because they now understand, and this next thing is important, that it's THEIR problem and you're just their to help them solve it with treatment options. I've done this for two decades and have taught it for nearly as long and the changes in practices when they embrace this is monumental. So, where does clinical photography come in?

Having a well composed class I image on the wall next to your screen
 is a great way for patients to better recognize the need for treatment.

If you're asking people to spot things themselves and walk them down the path of self diagnosis quickly and effectively, one needs to have exceptional (not just decent) images. The patient needs to diagnose it themselves, so they need to see what's going on. You can even screen record the whole process with audio and send it home with the patient or parent if they need it for any reason. A better level of informed consent and understanding doesn't exist.

Don't worry, though. Exceptional images are one of the easiest things to learn, when taught properly. It just takes a ton of practice. If you put the same amount of time into training your team how to get images as you did other things you've delegated (hopefully a lot with good written policies and systems), you'll be awesome.

Sure, there are lots of good reasons to take clinical images, but once I started using digital co-diagnosis, I stopped sending home images, I stopped worrying about whether patients saw a stain or crack before treatment and I watched my case acceptance go up. More importantly, my patients commonly asked me (even more now that I'm an orthodontist and may be their 3rd opinion) "why has nobody else shown me this before?" I have no doubt that the other offices showed images and gave treatment options, but once you make the shift to exceptional images and digital co-diagnosis, you'll stop looking for other ways to communicate with you patients and spend more time on effective internal marketing, which I'll save for another time. ;)

Remember, think like a clinician when you diagnose, but NOT when you present options.

All the best, and remember, you can always reach me at doc@KriegerOrthodontics.com.

Wishing you an amazing, joyous and profitable 2017!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Increase Your Case Acceptance NOW!

In today's world, dentists are looking for any way to stand out from their "competition". While I genuinely believe that we do not compete against one another, but rather against things like vacations, tuition, car payment and the like, we DO need a way to make ourselves stand out.


There are expensive ways, like buying a yogurt machine for your reception area (note: NOT a waiting room) or maybe having a spa in the back of your office, but I would contend that the best way to stand out is to be the best in your community. More importantly, your patients need a palpable way of knowing that they are in the best office in town when they're sitting in your chair.


Digital case presentation is a cool way of presenting care, but one needs pictures to show patients, in exquisite detail, conditions that need attention. If you show a blurry, wet, out of focus image, they can't see a thing. But, if you show a clear, beautiful image, even the greatest detail can be found.

Look at the image below. Show it to a patient and don't say a word. They'll instantly see the large, failing amalgams, the cracks, undermining decay, etc. They will actually ask YOU how quickly they can fix it. How do I know? I've seen it with hundreds of patients.


So, how does one learn how to get exceptional images? It's easy. Just click HERE to be taken to my website, buy the starter set and be off and running the day you get the set. It will quite possibly be the best return on investment you'll ever get. Use code webtg16 and get 15% off while supplies last.

Make 2017 you best year ever and help your patients get to the highest level of health.

If you have any questions, just ask. 

Best wishes,

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

15% off our revolutionary DVD's, mirrors and starter kits while supplies last.

Everyone asks me how they can get great images. I have an answer for you and your images could be better by next week. Seriously. Why not make 2017 your best year ever? Just use the code "WebTG16" for 15% off of our DVD's, mirrors and starter kits.

As you already know, the keys to getting exceptional images are: Exceptional mirror and retractor use. If you do that right, you can get images like the one below from a cell phone. I'm 100% serious.
Learn our mirror and retractor techniques and iPhone images like this are a breeze.

Our DVD's, mirrors and starter kit will have you shooting better images the day after watching our techniques. Order the starter kit and you'll have everything you need to teach your team members how to get better images for increased case acceptance and awesome documentation.

With 15% while supplies last, what are you waiting for? We're here to help you!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hands on Clinical Dental Photography Training

Hi Everyone!

As I've traveled around the world teaching clinical photography, I've had a lot of dentists ask me if I do personal consulting on how to get great images and how to use them for internal and external digital marketing to grow practices. The answer is: YES.

I've had groups come to my office in Dallas for training of the entire team with or without the doctor.

If you want to learn more about how I can personally help you and/or your team get spectacular clinical photographs and teach you how to grow your practice and increase case acceptance, just email me at Glenn@Kriegercontinuum.com and I can give you more details.

All the best,