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Color Coordination: How Your Dentist Selects a Match

November 7, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — yenzerdental @ 6:38 pm
Nose to chin view of a woman smiling while a dentist holds a shade guide to her teeth

Have you ever had a root canal or an incredibly decayed tooth? If so, your dentist probably placed a dental crown over the damage after repairing it. These caps bond with your tooth and cover it to prevent further injury. Many patients worry that it will be visibly distinguishable from their natural pearly whites because in the past they were made of metal.

Advancements in dental materials and techniques, however, have led to dental crowns made of porcelain or composite resin that can be customized to match your teeth. If you’re curious about how they ensure it’s the right shade, keep reading to learn about the color selection process.

What Factors Are Considered When Matching Colors?

Your dentist acts both as a doctor as well as an artist when finding the best color for your restoration. The enamel on your teeth is translucent and reflects light in certain ways which can be impacted by the lighting in the room, the shades of your clothing, and whether you have any makeup on.

To get it right, they’ll be looking at these 3 components:

  1. Hue. This refers to the overall color of your teeth and includes tones of gray, yellow, or red.
  2. Chroma. This refers to how densely saturated the hue is.
  3. Value. This describes whether the tint is lighter or darker.

Because these factors are subjective depending on several variables in the room, your dentist might ask you to remove your lipstick or wear a gray cover so that they’re better able to view them objectively.

How Does My Dentist Find the Right Color?

There are a couple of ways your dentist can compare colors, and the method will depend on the instruments and technology they have on site. Typically, they’ll use:

  • A shade guide. This consists of a plastic or metal card that contains fake teeth lined up in a variety of shades. It’s held up to your teeth to directly compare against your pearly whites to find the tone that’s the most similar. After identifying a few possibilities, they’ll let you take a look and share your input about which you like best.
  • A spectrometer. This is a small, electronic device that’s used to interpret color.
  • Photographs. Some dentists take pictures of your teeth from multiple angles and then select a match digitally.

Once the right shade is selected, it will be used to customize your restoration so once it’s placed, you’ll have a beautifully restored smile with no one the wiser!

About the Author

Dr. Jeff Yenzer earned his dental degree from Clemson University where he graduated with honors. He has since continued his education to include training in endodontics, dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry. He and his dedicated dental team believe every patient deserves to receive high-quality services delivered with kindness and respect. If you need a dental crown or require a replacement in an updated shade, you are welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (636) 778-3019.

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