Achieving Artistic Precision: How Dentists Perfectly Match the Color of Dental Crowns

A dentist comparing dental crown shades with a shade guide to achieve a perfect match.

As compassionate dentists in Decatur, GA, we take immense pride in not only providing exceptional oral care but also embracing the artistic aspect of our profession. Crafting beautiful and healthy smiles often requires us to be part artist and part scientist, especially when it comes to the intricate process of matching the color of a dental crown, also known as a cap.

The Complexity of Color Matching

Matching the color of natural teeth to create a seamless dental crown may seem like a daunting task, considering the limited range of hues found in human teeth. The spectrum of human teeth primarily revolves around yellowish off-white shades. However, through a combination of time-tested techniques, scientific knowledge, and cutting-edge technology, we can make informed aesthetic decisions to ensure a perfect match.

The Shades of Teeth: Hue, Chroma, and Value

In the dental world, we refer to teeth having a shade, which encompasses three essential elements: hue, chroma, and value. Hue represents the color itself, such as yellow, red, or gray. Chroma denotes the intensity or saturation of the hue, while value determines the lightness or darkness of the shade.

The Art of Shade Selection

To achieve precise color matching, we employ a shade guide, a valuable tool comprising a series of fake porcelain teeth with various shades arranged systematically. By comparing your natural tooth’s shade to the examples on the guide, we can identify the closest match. Our process typically begins by determining the tooth’s value and then proceeding to find the perfect hue and chroma.

Science Meets Art: The Role of Lighting and Perception

While shade selection is somewhat subjective, we utilize scientific principles to enhance accuracy. Choosing colors should be done under natural light conditions or fluorescent lights that mimic natural illumination. Incandescent lights, which tend to be too yellow, can distort color perception. To ensure optimal accuracy, we may request patients to remove bright lipstick or makeup that could influence tooth shade perception.

Enhancing Precision: The Role of a Gray Bib

To maintain focus and reduce potential color contrast from bright clothing, we might drape patients with a neutral gray bib. This helps our eyes rest between assessments of your teeth and the shade guide, as perceptive rod cells in our eyes can tire quickly. We only observe your teeth for brief intervals before resetting the rods by looking at something neutral or gray.


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