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Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes, 17 seconds

Author: Dr. Stefan Paul

Shade Selection to Match Natural Teeth and Adjacent Restorations

In the field of dentistry, achieving a perfect shade match for dental restorations is of utmost importance. Whether it’s a crown, veneer, or implant, the ability to seamlessly blend in with the patient’s natural teeth and adjacent restorations is crucial for a successful outcome. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of shade selection, including digitalized measuring tools, color perception, scientific methodologies, and the collaborative approach between dental offices and laboratories.

The Color Spectrum of Human Teeth

Before delving into the details of shade selection, it is imperative to understand the color spectrum of natural human teeth. Human teeth exhibit a vast range of shades, ranging from bright white to various shades of yellow, gray, and brown. Factors such as genetics, aging, oral hygiene habits, and lifestyle choices can all influence tooth color.

Furthermore, each tooth consists of multiple layers, including enamel, dentin, and pulp, each with its own unique color properties. The translucent nature of enamel allows the underlying dentin color to influence the overall tooth color. Dentists must consider these factors to achieve a harmonious shade match.

Perception of Color

Color perception is subjective and can vary from person to person. The human eye perceives color through a complex process involving light wavelengths, the retina, and the brain. Dentists must take into account the patient’s individual perception of color and adjust for any color deficiencies or biases.

Digitalized Measuring Tools

In the modern era, technology has revolutionized shade selection in dentistry. Digitalized measuring tools, such as spectrophotometers and colorimeters, provide precise measurements of tooth color. These tools eliminate subjective judgments and provide objective data, enhancing the accuracy of shade selection.

Using these tools, dentists can capture the color of natural teeth and adjacent restorations, creating a digital database that aids in the selection of the most appropriate shade for a new restoration. This digital approach allows for improved communication between dental offices and laboratories, reducing errors and ensuring a higher success rate.

Preferred Systems

Many preferred shade matching systems exist in the market, each offering its own benefits and limitations. Dentists commonly rely on the Vita Classical Shade Guide, which has been widely used for several decades. This shade guide consists of a series of tabs that dentists compare against the patient’s natural teeth. Each tab represents a different shade.

However, the Vita Classical Shade Guide has certain limitations. It provides a limited number of shade options, making it challenging to achieve an exact match. Additionally, tooth color can vary in different lighting conditions, making it difficult to assess the shade accurately.

Current Scientific Methodology

To overcome the limitations of traditional shade guides, dental researchers continuously strive to develop more accurate shade selection methodologies. Advanced technologies such as digital shade matching devices and computer-aided shade determination systems are being researched and implemented.

These systems utilize algorithms and artificial intelligence to analyze various aspects of tooth color, including hue, value, and chroma. By considering multiple parameters, these systems provide a more comprehensive and precise shade match, ensuring optimal aesthetic results.

The Team Approach: Dental Office and Laboratory

Achieving a flawless shade match requires seamless communication and collaboration between the dental office and the laboratory. Dentists work closely with dental technicians to convey the patient’s desired outcome and provide essential information about the shade and characteristics of the natural dentition.

The laboratory team utilizes their expertise and advanced technology to fabricate restorations that mimic the patient’s natural teeth. This collaboration ensures that the final restoration seamlessly integrates with the patient’s smile, creating a beautiful and natural-looking result.


Shade selection in dentistry is a meticulous process that requires a deep understanding of color perception, modern technologies, and effective collaboration. Dentists leverage digitalized measuring tools and preferred shade matching systems to overcome the limitations of traditional methods.

With ongoing advancements in scientific methodology and the collaborative efforts of dental offices and laboratories, achieving a perfect shade match is becoming increasingly predictable and successful. By considering the nuances of tooth color and working closely with patients, dental professionals can create restorations that blend harmoniously with natural teeth and adjacent restorations.


1. Is shade selection necessary for all dental restorations?

Yes, shade selection is crucial for all dental restorations. It ensures that the restoration seamlessly blends with the patient’s natural teeth, creating a natural-looking smile.

2. Can digital measuring tools accurately capture tooth color?

Yes, digital measuring tools such as spectrophotometers and colorimeters provide precise measurements of tooth color, enhancing the accuracy of shade selection.

3. How do dental offices and laboratories collaborate for shade selection?

Dental offices and laboratories work closely together, with dentists conveying the patient’s desired outcome and essential information about tooth shade to the laboratory technicians. The laboratory team then utilizes their expertise to fabricate restorations that match the patient’s natural teeth.

4. What are the limitations of the Vita Classical Shade Guide?

The Vita Classical Shade Guide provides a limited number of shade options and can be challenging to use for achieving an exact match. Additionally, tooth color can vary in different lighting conditions, making accurate shade assessment difficult.

5. Will advancements in scientific methodology further improve shade selection?

Yes, advancements in scientific methodology, such as digital shade matching systems, hold great promise for improving shade selection. These systems utilize advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to provide more precise shade matches.

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