10 Helpful Tips to Select an Accurate Shade

Selecting an accurate shade for dental laboratory work is crucial to avoid having long turn around times between dental clinics and laboratories… 

A few terms we will use in this article are:  

  • Value: Lightness or darkness of a hue
  • Chrome: Concentration (saturation of a hue; intensity
  • Hue: Specific Color

To start its important to:

  1.  Drape patient with a neutral color (grey or light blue) bib. Make sure patient removes bright makeup and lipstick

  2. Select the shade at the beginning of the appointment, before tooth preparation (so your eyes do not fatigue and more importantly the tooth does not dehydrate). 

  3. Reference the canines, they have the highest chroma of the dominant hue

  4. Ask a co-worker to determine the shade, and compare yours before determining the final shade.

  5. Don’t look too long! Your eyes may fatigue and tire. After a few seconds, look away at a neutral color, then look back for a few seconds. Repeat as needed. First impressions are the most accurate, and squinting your eyes helps with determining value and color.

  6. Compare your shade with different patient positions and lighting, as well as the lips up and down. Ask the patient to turn their head, sit up, stand up, etc. to adjust according to lighting. 

  7. Many dentists like choosing a shade that is slightly lower of value than the adjacent teeth because they feel it helps the porcelain blend nicely. 

  8. Providing a picture of the patients teeth and shade tab can be very informative to your dental lab, rather than going too in-depth in description

  9. Make sure your shade tabs are up to date and not faded. As well, not all shade coincide with each other. It can be helpful to add what guide you are using.

  10. Some individuals may have a color deficiency/color blindness. This limits their ability to distinguish between different colors, hues, and saturation. There are many visual tests online you can take to see if you have a color deficiency or color blindness.