How to take pictures for your photo assessment

Taking good photos for your Smile Assessment takes a bit of know-how. It’s not as simple as saying “Cheese!” But it’s not that complicated either.

Why good photos matter

Before SmileDirectClub can get started making aligners for your perfect smile, we need to know what your smile looks like. Good photos will help the doctors in our network determine whether you’re a good candidate for SmileDirectClub aligners.

And throughout your Smile JourneyTM, we’ll need to see how your smile changes. So, you guessed it, we’ll need more photos to make sure you get the smile you want and deserve.

Both for the start of your journey and for check-ins, we’ll need three types of photos:

  • One of your smile straight on and closed-mouth. We call this straight-on-closed.
  • One open-mouthed photo to see your upper teeth.
  • One open-mouthed photo to see your bottom teeth.

Once you start wearing your aligners, we will specify if you need to take photos with or without your aligners.

Bite down for straight-on-closed.

Bite down in a natural manner on your back teeth. Make sure your molars are in contact. This showcases your natural bite.

Don’t bite so that your front teeth line up directly with your bottom teeth. This forward posturing doesn’t showcase your actual bite, and these photos will be rejected.

Please note if you have a condition that prevents your molars from coming into contact.

Set up for upper teeth.

For the photo of your upper teeth, we need to see all your upper teeth, from the right last molar to the left last molar. Keeping your head straight, open wide and then tilt your head upwards.

Set up for lower teeth.

For lower teeth photos, we need to see all your lower teeth, from the right last molar to the left last molar. Keeping your head straight, open wide and bring your chin downwards to your neck.


Tips for getting good assessment photos

Assessment photos help SmileDirectClub give you the best experience and smile possible. So, what exactly do good assessment photos look like? These tips will walk you through what you need to do to get good assessment photos.

First, brush and floss your teeth.

Before taking any photos, make sure your smile is clean. This helps us clearly see and assess your smile. If you don’t floss often, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater for 30 seconds after you floss, before you take your photos. That will help bring down any swelling in your gumline.

Use bright light, but not the flash.

Take your photos in a brightly lit room and don’t use the flash. But don’t stand directly in front of the light source. If the light is behind your head, it distorts the image and can cause shadows, making your teeth difficult to see.

When possible, face a window with natural light coming in.

Look straight at the camera.

All photos need to be taken from the front straight on and not from the side.

Use the Smile Stretcher.

If you are completing your impression kit at home, SmileDirectClub will send you a Smile Stretcher in the box. A Smile Stretcher helps to gently push your lips out of the way so we can see your full set of teeth.

A Smile Stretcher is included in the box with your aligners, so you can use it throughout your Smile Journey. Make sure to use the Smile Stretcher when providing photos for a Smile Check-inTM or when you want to get a touch-up.

You don’t have a Smile Stretcher or lost it? No worries! Use your fingers to push your lips away for a better shot of your teeth.

Get close-up.

Smile Assessment photos are photos of your smile: We need to see your teeth, gums, and lips only.

We don’t need to see your face. We also don’t need to see your nose or eyes.

Have someone else take the photos.

As you can see from the tips list, a lot of little details go into taking good photos. When someone else takes the photo, they can make sure the photos are clear and close-up. Ask family or friends you know who take good photos.

If possible, skip the selfie. No matter how great you are at everyday selfies, we’re here to tell you they don’t always make the best Smile Assessment photos. It’s hard to get the clarity we need when you take the photos yourself.

Set up for selfies.

But, if you have to take a selfie, we have some tips for that, too. First, follow all the other rules. To take the photo yourself, put your phone on a stable surface at eye level and don’t use the front-facing camera. Stay still for the picture to prevent blurry photos.

Double-check before you send.

Photos should have good quality and resolution. If they look blurry or pixelated, retake them.

Uploading incorrect photos or ones that don’t meet the acceptance criteria can cause delays. Take the time to take good photos so you can get started on your journey to a new smile ASAP.

You’ve taken the photos. Now what?

When you’re done, email your photos to

If you have any questions, please contact our SmileExperts at 800-681-0771 or email


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