If you’ve ever experienced a root canal or had a severely decayed tooth, your dentist probably capped the site with a dental crown after repairing the damage. Typically, it’s made of a highly durable composite resin material that looks and feels like an authentic tooth. Your dentist can even customize it to match your natural pearly whites.
Despite this, some patients worry that their dental work will be noticeably visible. Because of the methods used to decide the hue, however, this isn’t really something to be concerned about. Keep reading to learn more about the process so you can see why your dental crown will be a perfect match!
What Does My Dentist Consider When Matching Colors?
The enamel of your teeth is somewhat translucent and as a result, it reflects light in a certain way. The room lighting and the colors of clothing or makeup you have on can greatly impact how it is perceived. To further complicate matters, there are different aspects to the shade of the tooth itself. Your dentist also takes into account:
- Hue. This refers to the general color of the teeth which includes yellow, red, and gray tones.
- Chroma. This is the saturation or density of the hue.
- Value. This describes how light or dark the shade is.
These three factors all help your dentist determine which color to use for your dental crown. They might request that you remove your lipstick if you’re wearing it or may drape a grey blanket over your clothing, so they can better view these different components without interference.
How Does My Dentist Color Match?
Depending on the technology available in their practice, your dentist will most likely choose the right hue in one of the following ways:
- Using a shade guide. This is a plastic or metal card with a variety of fake porcelain teeth in all the shades arranged in a particular order. Your dentist holds it to your teeth to directly compare the colors and find the one that best matches your smile. Once they identify some possibilities, they’ll probably ask for your opinion as well since this is a somewhat objective process.
- With a spectrometer. This is a small electronic device used to interpret color.
They may also photograph your teeth with the color guide and take pictures from many angles to color-correct digitally.
Once a shade is decided, your dentist will either use that onsite to create your dental crown or share it with the lab that will build it for you. When the process is complete and your dental crown is installed, no one will know the replacement tooth from the real ones!
About the Author
Dr. Natalya Ramsay completed her pre-doctoral degree at Portland State University and then earned her degree in General Dentistry at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry. She also has a wealth of experience providing a wide range of dental services to patients of all ages, including surgical treatments and root canal therapy. That makes her an expert at replacing teeth and matching their color. For a consultation, you’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (503) 472-1402.