Duration: 53 minutes, 36 seconds

Author: Dr. Johan Figueira

Color in Dentistry: Communication with the Lab


Color plays a crucial role in dentistry, especially when it comes to shade selection for dental procedures. Effective communication between dentists and dental labs is essential to ensure accurate color matching and achieve successful outcomes. In this article, we will explore the significance of color in dentistry and delve into the intricacies of communicating with the lab for optimal results.

Undergraduate Program and Move to UCLA

The speaker, who will be the focus of this article, completed their undergraduate program in Caracas, Venezuela. Seeking further knowledge and expertise, they made the momentous decision to move to the renowned University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This move allowed them to gain exposure to cutting-edge research and advancements in the dental field.

The Importance of Close Communication

Located in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, the lab that the speaker works with emphasizes the critical nature of maintaining close communication between dentists and dental technicians. Collaboration between these professionals is vital to ensure mutual understanding and achieve desirable outcomes for patients.

The Protocol: Diagnosis, Photography, and Digital Simulation

At the heart of productive communication with the lab lies a well-structured protocol. The speaker’s practice follows a systematic approach, starting with an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive photography. These initial steps provide the foundation for subsequent stages, ensuring precise color communication with the lab.

In addition to diagnosis and photography, digital simulation and treatment planning are integral components of the protocol. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, the speaker’s practice utilizes digital tools to simulate the proposed treatment outcomes. This simulation aids in visualizing the expected results and further facilitates communication with the lab.

Understanding the Case

Effective communication begins with a deep understanding of the case at hand. Dentists must convey their patients’ needs and expectations to the lab. This includes providing relevant information about the desired shade, material preferences, and any unique challenges associated with the case. Clear and concise communication forms the bedrock of successful collaborations between the dental team and the lab.

Diagnostic Wax-Ups and Prototypes

Creating diagnostic wax-ups and prototypes is an invaluable step in the communication process. These physical representations allow both dentists and dental technicians to visualize the proposed treatment and evaluate its aesthetic and functional aspects. By scrutinizing the wax-ups and prototypes, any necessary modifications or adjustments can be identified, ensuring the final restoration meets the patient’s expectations.

Testing the Prototypes

Thorough testing of the prototypes is a crucial aspect of the color communication process. Dentists assess the functionality and aesthetics of the prototypes to ensure they meet the desired outcomes before proceeding with the final restoration. This meticulous evaluation allows for any necessary refinements, guaranteeing optimal fit, comfort, and esthetics. The feedback obtained during this stage enables the dental lab to refine their approach and make any required adjustments to achieve the best possible results.


Color communication in dentistry is a multifaceted process that necessitates close collaboration between dentists and dental technicians. From an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive photography to digital simulation and treatment planning, each step in the protocol is critical to successful outcomes. Understanding the case, creating diagnostic wax-ups and prototypes, and testing prototypes for functionality and aesthetics all contribute to the effective communication process. By prioritizing clear and concise communication and embracing technological advancements, dental professionals can ensure accurate shade selection and deliver the best possible results to their patients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How important is color selection in dental procedures?

Color selection plays a vital role in dental procedures as it directly affects the aesthetics and natural appearance of restorations. Accurate shade matching is crucial to provide patients with results that blend seamlessly with their natural teeth.

2. What are the advantages of digital simulation in color communication?

Digital simulation allows dentists and patients to visualize the expected treatment outcomes. It aids in understanding the proposed changes, facilitating communication with the lab, and ensuring mutual agreement on the desired shade and results.

3. Why is close communication with the dental lab important?

Close communication with the lab ensures that dental technicians have a clear understanding of the case, including the desired shade, material preferences, and any unique challenges. This collaboration helps minimize errors and ensures the final restoration meets the patient’s expectations.

4. How do diagnostic wax-ups and prototypes aid in color communication?

Diagnostic wax-ups and prototypes provide a physical representation of the proposed treatment, allowing both dentists and dental technicians to assess the esthetics and functionality. These tangible models enable necessary modifications to be made, ensuring the final restoration meets the desired outcomes.

5. What role does patient feedback play in the communication process?

Patient feedback during the testing stage of prototypes is invaluable. It allows dentists to evaluate the fit, comfort, and esthetics of the restoration. This feedback guides the dental lab in making any necessary adjustments to achieve optimal results.

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