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Shading with Science: How Dental Crowns Are Color-Matched

April 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — ndbarnegat @ 12:23 pm
Dental technician working on some dental crowns

If you’ve had a dental crown placed at some point, then you know how magical they seem. As soon as you look in the mirror it disappears into your smile. It often matches so well that you may even forget which tooth it’s on! But how does your dentist achieve this toothy camouflage? Read on to learn how dentists blend science and art to achieve gorgeous results with dental crowns.

How Do Dentists Color Match Your Teeth?

Color is all about perception. What looks like one color to you may look different for another person. Lighting, position, and even the type of makeup or clothes someone wears can alter colors! Because of this variance, dentists use tools like spectrometers that measure light wavelengths to accurately pinpoint colors on your teeth.

Another method commonly used in many offices is a swatch test. This is similar to how you might choose a wall color by picking up paint chips at a hardware store. However, in this instance, your dentist uses a shade guide.

These are plastic or metal plates that hold several prosthetic tooth samples. Your dentist will choose a few of these and match them against your enamel until they get a close visual match. During this process, they may ask you to remove some makeup or give you a gray bib to wear. This helps focus their eyes on neutral colors so they can get a better sense of shading.

How Is Color Information Used for Dental Crowns?

Crowns are a long process that begins with your consultation. Here, an impression is made of your mouth and all the technical information is gathered, including colors. This information is then sent off to a dental lab where your crown is fabricated over a couple of weeks.

At the lab, dental technicians use the notes and technical specifications to mill your prosthetic out of a block of porcelain. After, they use various dyes to stain the crown until it matches the specified color. Then it’s sealed, polished, and sent back to your dentist for fitting.

From spectrometers and shade guides to pigments and dyes, the color-matching process for dental crowns is very complex. Despite this, sharp-eyed dentists, and highly trained technicians make thousands of beautiful crowns every year for patients who need them. So, the next time you get a dental crown, remember all the work that goes into the small but intricate prosthetic.

About the Author

Dr. Admasu Gizachew is a talented dentist who loves working with his hands and helping his patients achieve beautiful smiles. He earned his dental doctorate from New York University and has earned multiple Top Dentist awards in New York and New Jersey for outstanding care and quality. Call (609) 879-0036 to schedule an appointment at NU Dental Barnegat, or visit the website to browse a full menu of services.

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