How to submit your own picture for a (free!) digital dental makeover! -

Submission instructions and rules. / Selection pretty much boils down to picture quality.

Please note:

We've chosen to suspend this service indefinitely.

We'll post here if there are any changes in this status.

Our (free!) dental makeovers.

If you've visited our Cosmetic Dentistry section, you've already seen some of our dental makeover simulations.

These are before-and-after picture sets where:
  • A website visitor submits their own photo.
  • We make a copy of the picture and retouch it.

    We don't do the fantasy thing, where someone else's perfect smile is just pasted over your teeth.

    Instead we "photoshop" each individual tooth that needs improvement, staying within the guidelines that standard dental procedures (and a person's own dentist) should actually be able to accomplish.

  • We then post the two together as a before-and-after animation on our website. And explain details about the dentistry that would be involved in making the transformation we've simulated.


Here's how we hope our digital makeovers are used.

Our main goal is to create an "after" simulation that the subject can use as a way of communicating with their dentist.

  • One where they can point out exactly what they like, or don't like, about the changes we've simulated.
  • And one where their dentist (who has actually had an opportunity to examine them) can explain exactly to what extent the types of changes we've shown are possible.


There's no cost for this service (other than putting in the effort to take a good photo). Since it's free, why not consider submitting your own picture?

How to make a digital makeover submission.

1) The type of pictures we're looking for.

We end up spending about one workday preparing each dental makeover simulation and its page. And obviously, if we don't start off with a good picture (sharp focus, large enough resolution), the simulation we create won't look very good either.

Rule #1 with us: This service isn't just about helping you. It's also about creating web pages that other site visitors can benefit from too. It's about everyone being able to learn something about dentistry.

That means picture quality is always the first (and usually only) factor we consider when selecting our next makeover case.

Picture Requirements

!! To be considered, your submission must be a closeup of your smile (about 1/2 face, or even closer in) that's both well lit and shows your teeth in good focus. The photo itself must have a minimum resolution on the order of 1280 X 720 pixels.

1280 X 720 equates to a 1-megapixel camera. The very first iPhones had a 2-megapixel camera, so pretty much any smartphone on the planet should be able to meet our requirements, if you use the proper settings.

There are three issues you'll need to watch out for.

  1. Check that your camera is set to at least 1280 X 720 pixels resolution.

    (We prefer you use your camera's absolute highest possible resolution. Doing so will give us an even more detailed image. That will allow us much more latitude in correcting image deficiencies, thus increasing your chances of it being accepted for a virtual makeover).

  2. Check that your camera (phone) is actually saving the photo in this high-resolution format.
  3. Check that your email service is sending the photo in its full high-resolution format (not compressed into a smaller file).


How to check your photo.

The way you check all of this is to simply:

  1. Email a copy of the photo(s) you're considering submitting to yourself first.
  2. When you're viewing that picture, look at its "Details."
  3. In that information, look for the picture's resolution.

If it's not what it needs to be, you'll need to backtrack through each of the issues above until you find the one that's causing the problem.

We'll also mention, if you do the above check on some type of larger-screen device (desktop or laptop, with the zoom factor for the image set to 100%) you'll get an idea of what we see. Small screens (and the condensed images they show) often hide the fact of how badly a picture is out of focus.


To give you an idea of the type of pictures we're looking for, use these links:

  • Accepted and declined cases. - A listing of recently submitted photos, explaining why each one was or wasn't accepted for a dental makeover simulation.
  • Recently completed cases. - A larger listing of accepted cases than the link above. Once again, so you'll have an understanding of the type of picture we're likely to accept. (Click each thumbnail image to view its case.)
  • Picture taking tips. - Our collection of pointers, based on our impression of photos that have been submitted in the past.

    (The most important tip: Google how to take a close-up picture with your specific camera.)


2) Submission rules and conditions.

Please note: We've decided to put this service on indefinite hiatus.

1) You must be over the age of 18 years to make a submission. The act of sending your picture to us constitutes your affirmation that you meet this requirement.

2) Images must be in either ".jpg", ".jpeg", ".png" or ".gif" format.

As discussed above, we're looking for 1/2 face photos (or closer in) that are well lit, with the teeth in sharp focus and have a resolution that's at least 1280 X 720 pixels (anything higher is substantially better for the work we perform and is much appreciated).

3) WMDS, Inc. (the owner of, at its discretion, will choose which submitted images will be utilized for a smile makeover simulation.

4) All pictures submitted become the property of WMDS, Inc. who has the right to reproduce, modify, publish, and otherwise utilize the images. Copyrighted images may not be submitted.

5) Once we've received your submission, we'll evaluate your photo(s). After we have, we'll post what we consider the best one on our Submitted Cases page along with an indication about whether your case has been accepted for a makeover or not (see that page for more details). If it has been, that page will also state the time frame by which we expect to have your makeover completed.

6) Somewhere along the line, we'll email those whose case we have accepted and ask for details about how they took their picture(s) (type of camera, settings, lighting conditions, ... as much as you want to share).

We require and post that information so others who are interested in having a virtual makeover made for them will have a better idea of what they'll need to do to take a good picture.

At a minimum, a delay in responding will just add that number of days to our expected completion date for your case. If we haven't heard back in what we consider an appropriate amount of time, we'll simply skip your case and move on to the next one.

7) Images should be submitted as email attachments. Our email address can be found on our Contact Us page. Since this is a "catch-all" type of email box, you'll need to place the words "smile makeover" or such in the subject line so your submission isn't overlooked (regrettably that seems to have happened before).

8) And remember, it's free! It just costs putting in the effort to take a good picture.

How to improve your chances that we'll select your photo for a dental makeover.

Photo submission tips and pointers.

Those types of pictures that we aren't able to select usually have one or more of the problems listed below.

1) The image is out of focus. -If your camera has a "close up" or "macro" setting, using it usually makes a good choice (depending on how close in you take your picture from). Also, set your camera to its highest resolution setting (the highest number of pixels). These two steps alone will probably end up being the factors that determine whether the picture you take will be suitable for our purposes or not.

Take several pictures of your face from slightly different distances. Then take a look at each one and send us the one(s) that shows your teeth well, and is also in focus.

Don't worry that the picture shows your face (all of it or part of it). Probably 25% of the pictures we've created digital makeovers for were originally (very high resolution) full-face photos. And, in fact, all of the pictures we've used have been cropped down at least somewhat.

We have no desire to embarrass anyone. Any and all images that are selected will be cropped down to a size that just shows the person's teeth and smile.

2) The image is out of focus. - We've listed this reason twice because it's the main reason why an image gets rejected for a simulation.

If you are unclear about the instructions we've provided above, search the web. Type in "taking a close up picture with" and then add the specific name of your camera or phone. Almost certainly you'll find a page giving you the exact instructions that you need.

3) The size of the smile is too small. - When you view the picture you plan to send to us in your web browser (preferably desk or laptop screen), the size of the teeth and smile need to be similar in size (or larger, or even much larger) as the teeth and smile seen in the picture below.

While we can usually shrink an image down to an appropriate size, we can never enlarge a small picture to a larger size. It simply becomes too grainy to be suitable for our use.

Image of a smile that demonstrates our minimum size for makeover cases.

Our requirement is an image of this size or larger.

4) The size of the smile is too small. - We've listed this reason twice because, except for a picture being out of focus, this is the main reason we reject submissions.

5) Try using your phone's camera. - Judging from poses and picture backgrounds, most of the photos we've selected recently seem to have been taken using the person's cell phone. (The majority of pictures we've declined seem to have been taken using cameras mounted on computers/laptops.)

Most have had a resolution measured in the thousands by thousands pixel range (like 1500 X 3000, or more), so set your camera to its highest resolution. Use your phone's best camera, not the front-facing "selfie" one.

Many pictures we end up working with started off showing about 1/2 of the person's face. Their high resolution allowed us to crop and shrink them down to a size that met our needs yet they still retained a sharp focus.

Take dozens of pictures (it won't cost you anything or take more than an extra minute or so). Your best ones will likely be accidents.

6) It takes light to make a good picture. - You won't get a good picture unless you have an adequate light source. Relatively darker photos typically display a higher degree of picture graininess, a problem our photo-editing software can't really correct.

Getting a proper amount of light may be as simple as turning on every light in the room, positioning some lamps that you can stand between, standing outside in daylight or near a window, or else using your camera's flash.

As another tip, if you're standing in front of a light-colored background and it shows in the picture you take, your camera will adjust for its brightness and as a result your face and smile will appear dark.

7) Some other things. - You shouldn't feel that you have to send in a full-smile photo. If you're just concerned about an issue in one region, or even one tooth, then focus in on that.

And don't feel that you have to grimace for your picture. Images like the one above are much more pleasant to look at, as well as more natural-looking.

8) Submit multiple pictures. - What we're looking for in an image may be different from what you expect. Sending in multiple photos (all taken at different angles or even all at the same angle) makes it more likely that we'll find one that meets our needs.

9) Transfer the pictures at high-resolution. - Don't let your email service dumb down (compress) the pictures you spent time creating. If they try to impose size limits on your attachments always choose the highest resolution or largest picture size.

[Since pictures can vary so much in size and whether they are a closeup or not, file size isn't really the proper metric to go by. But we checked our history. If the picture you submit (attach to your email) has a file size that's less than 500kb, there's very little chance it will meet our needed requirements.]


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