How Your Dentists Matches Cosmetic Treatments to Your Tooth Color

Woman smiling with a shade selector

Have you ever wondered how your dentist is able to replace a tooth with a crown, and it looks just like all the teeth around it? Your dentist has a job that includes more than just a medical or technical aspect; restoring your smile requires a certain degree of artistry as well. Learning how to properly match dental tone is a tricky prospect and one they spend a fair amount of time agonizing over. Thankfully, there are tools they have to make their job just a little easier, so your smile can look it’s absolute best.

The Fine Art Of Matching Your Natural Tooth Color

If you look around, you’ll notice that even healthy teeth demonstrate a rather broad range of coloration. Some have teeth that are whiter or more translucent, and that’s just the beginning. Using these techniques they learn in dental school, your dentist is able to match your exact shade. Shades are different than mere colors, being the result of multiple elements. While your teeth may look white to you, they actually contain a combination of grey, red, and yellow, along with the white shade. The elements found in your particular shade include:

  • Value: The lightness or darkness of the shade
  • Hue: This is what we usually refer to as color
  • Chroma: This term defines the depth of saturation of the hue

In determining the shade of your teeth, your dentist typically identifies the value of your tooth first. After this, they are able to identify the subtle cues that indicate the hue and chroma found in your natural tooth color. You may be asked to do a few things for this process to take place:

  • Sit Near A Window – Natural light is definitely the best for identifying the proper shade
  • Remove lipstick and makeup – The elements found in your makeup or lipstick can alter the appearance of your teeth, making it harder to find the proper shade.
  • Wear a Gray Bib – You may be put in a gray bib to help dampen the color in your clothes and give the dentist a neutral tone to start from and to reference when looking away.

The gray bib plays an essential role in color selection due to how the eyes function. Staring at the same color for longer than 5-7 seconds can cause your rod cells to tire, making it more difficult to differentiate between the finer details of the color. The grey bib gives your dentist a place to ‘reset’ their eyes so they can ensure a proper match.

Get Your Dental Tone Matching Done Today

Ready to get your next dental restoration done? Reach out to your dental provider and schedule your next visit today! They can even talk you through the process and how they learned to do it. Don’t be surprised to see a few color matching cards come out during the process! They often use these aids to help ensure they’re getting a perfect match, not just a near thing.