Monday, November 12, 2018

BSB Camera: a Bigger Burger Patty for your buck

Photomed has always sold a compact Canon setup for about $1400. Now it's $1500, and the SX470 camera upon which they base it on is $400 at Canon's official store. I realize they provide documentation, loaners and support, but they used to give you a higher line G series camera. I love a lot of their stuff, but I don't like the value proposition here. (and if you are a serious Canon color snob, then you are probably getting a $3000 SLR rig anyways)

For comparison's sake, BlueSkyBio is selling the faster focusing, much larger sensor size Olympus E-PL8 in a nearly identical configuration (camera+diffuser + close up filter for the default lens) for $900. BSB's kit doesn't have the slick one piece magnetic mount. You have to screw on the close up filter and screw on the diffuser panel. But it's $600 less and includes a 4 times larger sensor. I'll take a larger sensor any day of the week.

Remember, sensor size to cameras is like the meat in a hamburger--it's the main driver of cost and the main factor in image quality (besides the lens). Don't pay $15 for a hamburger with a tiny patty found inside $1 hamburgers. BSB's camera is best combo deal you'll find in dental photography. It's like Carl's Jr (Hardees) thickburgers - a restaurant sized patty inside a fast food priced burger.

Micro-four thirds is on the smaller size for interchangeable lens cameras, but IMO it's the perfect size for dentistry. Big depth of field yet good detail and more than enough dynamic range when you're using flash. Going bigger in sensor size (like APS-C and 35mm "full frame") in SLR's will not look significantly better for dentistry, yet will require much larger and heavier lenses and bodies to handle the larger sensor. 1" sensor size would still work for dentistry, but unfortunately, there aren't any cameras with lenses that immediately lend themselves to our needs.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Dental mixing tips for impressions and cements

The markup on mixing tips can be insane...often about $1.50 per use from major dental dealers.  I've found them for less than half of that. 

Check out my mixing tip collection on

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Retraction Statement: How Dentists Turn the Other Cheek

I found steel retractors in the shape of the plastic ones I like. These are two handed (patient controls the tension; can't blame you for being rough) and have large and small ends. Unlike the plastic ones, they won't melt in your autoclave. (and if they do, you have other problems)

There's also a black stainless steel version. This appears to be either painted or anodized. They were piano black glossy when I first got them, but autoclaving seems to have added a patina to them. It does rub off, but I prefer leaving it matte to reduce the slight glare you see on these photos. I wish it were black silicone; that's my favorite surface finish for black anterior contrasters.

Search for stainless steel lip retractors on e-bay.
(Affiliate link: I make a small commission at no added cost to you)

Search for the black stainless steel cheek retractors on ebay.
(Affiliate link: I make a small commission at no added cost to you)

PS What about the stainless steel Columbia retractors I used in dental school?

I used to use Columbia retractors.  Advantages: The Colombia is VERY durable --should last your entire career.  It also easily retracts without interfering with occlusal mirrors or buccal mirrors.  The downsides are it's VERY bulky to sterilize and it looks very "gynecological" / "medieval" in its appearance.  I switched to Columbias entirely for a few months, now I'm switching back to this shape. It's personal preference; there isn't a "wrong" answer as long as you get the image you want, and your patients don't flee you in fear.

If you're in a fast paced clinic where things get beat up, definitely consider stainless steel retractors over plastic ones.  It will definitely cost you less in the long run.

Photomed has an excellent collection of retractors.  They are amongst the only ones who sell round ended Colombia retractors.