Inaccurate shading is one of the most frequent culprits that require restorations to be remade. When you’re working with a dental restoration, you want to make sure it matches the shade of your patient’s other natural teeth and blends seamlessly with their smile. Just the slightest difference in the shade can make a significant difference in appearance. That’s why Premier Dental Arts compiled this list of tips on accurate shade matching.
Tip 1: Set the right environment
The setting of the appointment, or more ideally the entire room where you are meeting the patient, should be a neutral, non-white color. Make sure no bright colors are in your immediate field of view, and wear neutral-colored gloves. Also, the patient should have clean teeth; ask them to brush their teeth and remove any lipstick.
Tip 2: Check the light
The light source you choose and how you direct it will have a significant impact on the visible shade of the tooth. Ideal lighting for shade matching should be as follows:
- Use indirect lighting, ideally from fluorescent bulbs at 5500 Kelvin.
- The light should be color-corrected with an entire visible spectra range.
- It should be intense enough to eliminate any ambient light but not so strong as to conceal any color differences.
- It should be consistent enough that lighting does not change based on the time of day or location.
Tip 3: Picture it
To capture all the subtle differences, you will want to take a clear photograph of the patient’s mouth. Digital photography allows for unprecedented clarity in these images, allowing the dental technician to see the shading and unique characteristics of the tooth being treated. So, what camera is best? We recommend a high-end DSLR camera with a ring flash. If your office doesn’t have that available, using a smartphone often can suffice. Make sure a shade tab is included in the photo for comparison purposes.
Tip 4: Act fast
We suggest that shade determination should be made at the start of a dental appointment before any other work is done on the patient’s mouth. You also want to make the decision as quickly as possible, as the color can change during a dental appointment, even from minor dehydration in the patient’s mouth. Specifically, dehydration can affect the chroma or color purity; and the value or lightness of the color. View the patient at eye level and identify the correct shade as rapidly as possible. As Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
Tip 5: Check your vision
Did you know that our perception of color can vary quite a bit from person to person? Three types of color blindness exist where color perception is different from normal vision. Color blindness affects approximately 8% of men compared to 0.5% of women, and most people who suffer from color blindness are never diagnosed. We recommend each clinician on your team undergo a color perception test at least once per year, as vision can change as you age.
Producing Natural Dental Restorations
You want to work with a dental laboratory that will emphasize accuracy in shading when fabricating your restorations. At Premier Dental Arts, we take the time to make sure the shade on our fixed and removable products is as accurate as it can be. That’s why we are the most recommended implant laboratory in the Southeast region. Call (888) 732-5221 today to learn more about our services.