Int J Periodontics Restorative Dent 23 (2003), No. 5 1. Oct. 2003
Closely matching natural teeth with an artificial restoration can be one of the most challenging procedures in restorative dentistry. Natural teeth vary greatly in color and shape. They reveal ample information about patients' background and personality. Dentistry provides the opportunity to restore unique patient characteristics or replace them with alternatives. Whether one tooth or many are restored, the ability to assess and properly communicate information to the laboratory can be greatly improved by learning the language of color and light characteristics. It is only possible to duplicate in ceramic what has been distinguished, understood, and communicated in the shade-matching process of the natural dentition. This article will give the reader a better understanding of what happens when incident light hits the surface of a tooth and give strategies for best assessing and communicating this to the dental laboratory.