Selecting a patient’s shade in the dental office can be a difficult task at times because describing color is very subjective. There are many factors that influence an affect color in the operatory. For example, the type of lighting, individual perception, metamerism, the age of your shade tabs, and the ambient light in your room. The Dental Creations’ Shade Wand and the tips below will make taking excellent shades easy.
Top Shade Taking Tips:
01 Take the shade at the beginning of the appointment before anesthesia.
02 Keep the teeth hydrated because as teeth desiccate, they become lighter.
03 Avoid color distractions: Remove lipstick, use clear cheek retractors and always use neutral gray or light blue colored bibs and gloves.
04 Seat the patient upright and use the Shade Want light that emits 5000 to 5500 Kelvin light temperature. (Figure 1)
05 Turn off overhead dental light.
06 Hold the shade guide to the patient’s mouth and visually scan all the tabs using the process of elimination. (Figure 2)
07 Do not stare at a shade tab for more than five seconds to avoid chromatic adaptation, making it difficult to see color differences.
08 Alternate looking at the neutral gray or light blue bib to neutralize the rods and cones in the eyes and then look back at the tab again to check shade.
09 Remember the Value is the most important factor to a great shade. This is rightness or lightness of a shade. If the value is too high, the tab will appear to bright. If the value is too low, the tab will appear too dark. (Figure 3)
10 I the patient is bleaching their teeth, wait two weeks before taking the shade. The patient’s tooth color needs to stabilize.
11 Always keep in mind that there are (4 parts) and (4 colors) to a shade tab. The incisal 1/3, the middle 1/3, the gingival 1/3, and the Neck of the tab.
12 Make sure your shade guide is up-to-date. Shade tabs can degrade over the years due to cleaning or sterilization. Do not autoclave shade guides.
Article by: Robert Marbach, BA, CDT