I’ve always wondered how some textbooks are able to get those photos with beautifully-colored tooth sections. Using them in PowerPoint presentations have become something of a trend, and I came across another one of those a couple of weeks ago. The photos themselves look like false-color images, but I knew there’s no way the speakers had the time and the know-how to painstakingly photoshop each slide. After a little research, the answer is actually just polarized light. Fortunately, it wasn’t hard at all to reproduce.
So here’s a diagram of the setup that I needed:
Here are some notes from my trials:
- The thickness of the slide seemed to affect its vibrancy
- A glass pane for placing the specimen on worked a lot better than clear plastic
- Having a diffuser on the light didn’t help much
- Rotating the CPL can give either light or dark backgrounds
Hsuan is a lecturer at CEREC Asia Training Facility and the founder of Tooth Faerie Club. He is from Vancouver, Canada, and is a fan of prosthodontics and profanity.