January 13, 2023
Children learn colors at a very young age, but as you get older, you realize that it’s not always as simple as it seems. When your dentist needs to place a crown on one of your teeth, for example, they have to select the shade between yellow and off-white for the prosthetic. If they choose the wrong one, the crown will stand out and attract the wrong kind of attention.
With such a narrow range of color, how does your dentist determine the exact shade your crown should be? How can they make sure your restoration closely resembles your natural teeth? Keep reading to learn how they do it!
Understanding the Science of Color
Did you know that selecting a color for a crown is not as straightforward as distinguishing between yellow and white? There are several factors your dentist considers to create a close match to the surrounding teeth.
The shade of a tooth consists of the hue (or color itself), chroma (or intensity of the hue), and the value (or the degree of light and dark). To help determine these traits, your dentist uses a shade guide, a metal or plastic plate that has many porcelain teeth attached that can be held up to teeth to find as close a match as possible.
Using the Best Lighting
Certain kinds of lighting can alter the perception of color. For instance, typical incandescent bulbs usually have a yellowy tint, which is why your dentist will likely use natural lighting near a window or a fluorescent light that mimics a natural source to make their shade selection.
Training the Eye to Be Sensitive
In order to provide a crown that looks realistic and that blends in, your dentist makes judgment calls, but they use tricks to keep their eyes sharp. The rods that detect color start to lose focus after about seven seconds, which is why your dentist will alternate between before looking at the color guide and looking away at a neutral color, usually gray, to reset the rods in their eyes.
In addition, if you are wearing bright or distracting colors, your dentist may put a gray cover on you so that their eyes can focus distinguishing the subtle differences in the shades on the guide.
Taking Advantage of Technology
Digital photography has revolutionized not only the quality of photos you post on social media but also the quality of crowns and other restorations. Your dentist will likely take a few digital photos of your teeth and use CEREC software and technology to then create your custom crown in the office.
Sitting in the chair, you may not see all that goes into choosing your crown’s shade, but you can rest assured that your dentist is doing everything they can to select right one so that your smile looks completely natural and brilliant.
About the Practice
Dr. Chris and Dr. Claire Haag have been practicing at Pioneer Greens Dentistry for many years and have used CEREC technology since 2001. In fact, Dr. Chris is a mentor in the CEREC program at the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry. Our team has knowledge and skillset to create perfect, custom restorations for each patient. If you are interested in learning more about the process of getting a dental crown, you can contact us online or call our Lincoln office at 402-483-7502.
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