When you think of a dentist, you likely depict them as an expert for anything and everything that involves teeth and gums. However, it may surprise you to learn that dentists consider themselves artists as much as medical professionals. That’s mainly because dental care is a perfect blend of art and science, especially when it comes to repairing broken or decayed teeth with a dental crown. Choosing the perfect shade for your restoration requires a keen eye and the use of several techniques. Read on for a brief explanation of the science behind this fascinating and unique process.
Why Teeth Are Different Colors
Believe it or not, one mouth can have teeth that are several different colors. That usually happens because existing dental work (i.e., old fillings or crowns) becomes discolored over time. In many cases, it’s also the result of staining that develops from overconsumption of dark-colored foods and drinks (i.e., soda, tea, red wine, curry, soy sauce). Either way, it makes the shade selection process much more difficult. If you need a dental crown or another type of restoration, your dentist will always try and color-match it to the adjacent tooth for optimal results.
How Does a Dentist Choose the Right Color?
Since teeth can be multiple different shades, picking the perfect color for a dental crown is not an easy process. Your dentist will take their time choosing a shade because even a slight difference is highly noticeable, especially with teeth that are in the front of your smile. Many dentists use a shade guide to get the best color-matched results. It’s a metal or plastic card that has rows of fake porcelain teeth in a range of hues. During your first appointment, your dentist will hold the guide up to your natural teeth to find the color that best matches.
Ways to Create a Custom-Shade of Your Teeth
As mentioned earlier, a mismatched dental crown can negatively affect your appearance. That’s why your dentist will take their time when choosing the right color. In addition to using a shade guide, here are a few ways they’ll ensure they have the correct shade:
- Natural light. Different types of light (i.e., warm, soft, bright) can change the way something looks. For the best results, your dentist will compare your teeth and style guide using natural light.
- Controlling color contrast. Bright colors can make it difficult for your dentist to focus on the shades of your teeth. Therefore, they may ask you to remove bright-colored makeup or use a gray apron to help them focus.
- Analyzing images of adjacent teeth. Some dentists may use advanced technology to take pictures of your adjacent teeth and analyze their color.
As you can see, picking the right shade for your dental crown is an art. With the right dentist, you can get a perfectly color-matched restoration that’ll make it look like nothing was wrong with your smile in the first place!
About the Author
Dr. Robert Graffeo has an impressive 25 years of dentistry experience under his belt. Since completing his post-graduate periodontal mini-residency at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, he’s attended numerous hours of continuing education courses to grow and refine his skill set. If you need a dental crown, Dr. Graffeo has the skill and expertise necessary to give you the flawless results you deserve. To make an appointment, you can reach him via his website or call (201) 683-3531.