Shade matching is part art and part skill. Selecting the right shade for dental restorations is not always easy, but it is vital to ensure the restoration is esthetically pleasing and blends seamlessly with the rest of the patient’s teeth.
What affects the ability to choose the right shade?
Factors like a patient’s age, skin tone, lip tone, disease state, and dentin color influence shade matches. Even the environment around the office, like wall colors and available light, can affect the shade.
To get the best results, we offer the following tips:
- First, select the shade at the beginning of the appointment before the tooth becomes dehydrated and your eyes fatigued.
- View the tooth at eye level, standing 10–14 inches away.
- The initial impression is usually the most accurate, so make the selection quickly.
- Turn off the unit’s light. Make your initial selections under incandescent or fluorescent lighting, then move the patient near a natural light source like a window.
Beyond just selecting the most accurate shade, clear communication with your lab technician is also essential to ensure that the restoration is the perfect shade.
To help with this, be sure to include the shade guide manufacturer’s information on the prescription form when you send it. Also, include digital photos with shade mapping along with the lab orders whenever possible.