If you’ve had a root canal before, chances are you have a crown over that tooth. Maybe you’ve wondered how the dentist gets that crown to perfectly match the shade of the surrounding teeth. After all, no one else has noticed that you have a crown there and not a natural tooth. Let’s look at the science behind how your dentist can color match your dental crowns in Waverly.
What’s in a Color?
Before color matching your dental crown in Waverly, your dentist first has to decide on the color of the rest of your teeth. First and foremost, teeth are typically referred to as having a shade, not just a color. In fact, a shade includes 3 elements:
- Hue: the same thing as color
- Value: the level of lightness or darkness that the shade has
- Chroma: the intensity or saturation of the hue
How Do Dentists Decide the Correct Shade?
A shade guide is the most common method of finding a color match. With this technique, your dentist will use a card with fake porcelain teeth of many different shades. They will hold the guide by your teeth and typically start by determining the value of the tooth before moving on to finding the chroma and hue.
Making the choice to find the perfect shade can be a little subjective. However, there is some science that can make the process easier. The decision should be under a natural light, such as near a window. Regular fluorescent lights tend to make things look too yellow, resulting in a crown that looks different from the rest of the teeth. If you are wearing any bright lipstick or other makeup, your dentist may ask you to remove it, as that can affect color perception.
Your dentist may place a gray bib over your if you are wearing a brightly colored shirt. This gives the dentist’s eyes a place to rest between looking at the shade guide and your teeth. The rod cells in your eyes that perceive color get tired in seven seconds at most. Your dentist will need to look at a neutral color to reset the rods.
After making a decision, your dentist will likely get a second opinion from you or someone who works in the office. This is because color perception can vary between people. Once the decision has been finalized, the shade will be sent off to a ceramic’s lab, where your crown will be designed.
Now you know the process by which your dentist color matches your dental crowns. It doesn’t seem that much like a mystery now, does it? If you have any more questions, feel free to ask your dentist about their process.
About the Author
Dr. Jonathan Smiley earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Iowa Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you would like to learn more about the way he color matches dental crowns, visit his website or call (319)-352-2270.