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Case Study
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Accurate Shade Communication With The Dental Laboratory for Anterior Aesthetics

Learning Objectives:

This case study highlights a predictable method of performing shade and color communication that enables the restorative team to fabricate aesthetic ceramic restorations. Upon reviewing this case study, the reader should have. 
  • An awareness of the factors involved in proper shade selection
  • An understanding that each member of the restorative team must follow the same standards of measurement and must effectively communicate regarding shade selection.

The aesthetic appearance of a restoration is as important as its biological compatibility and function. Restorations must match surrounding natural dentition. This article discusses shade communication between the members of the restorative team and ceramic layering techniques for enhanced aesthetic results.

One of the most challenging procedures in aesthetic dentistry is matching the shade of a single anterior tooth. Lighting, environment, and perception must be considered during the taking of shades to ensure a proper match. Restorative team members must use identical standards of measurement and communicate about shade and color. Failure to communicate risks a mismatched restoration and unaesthetic results. This article highlights a method of shade and color communication used in aesthetic ceramic restorations.

Fabrication of natural appearing aesthetic restorations depends on proper communication and understanding the methods used to take and match shades. This article highlights factors that influence proper shade and color determination. In addition, it details communication methods between the members of the restorative team and demonstrates the use of such techniques during the segmental buildup of porcelain restorations. 

*Laboratory Technician, Bay Dental Laboratory, Monterey, CA.

Related Reading:



  1. Miller A, Long J, Cole J, Staffanou R. Shade selection and laboratory communication. Quint Int 1993;24(5):305-309.
  2. Muia PJ. Esthetic Restorations: Improved Dentist-Laboratory Communication. Carol Stream, IL: Quintessence Publishing, 1993.
  3. Yamamoto M. Metal-Ceramics. Carol Stream, IL: Quintessence Publishing, 1985.
  4. Touati B, Miara P, Nathanson D. Esthetic Dentistry & Ceramic Restorations. London, UK: Martin Dunitz, 1999.
  5. Spear F. Aesthetic communication. Las Vegas, NV: ADA Conference 1985.
  6. Ubassy G. Shape and Color. Carol Stream, IL: Quintessence Publishing, 1993.
  7. 3D-Master, Vident, Brea, CA.
  8. McLaren EA. Luminescent veneers. J Esthet Dent 1997;9(1):3-12.
  9. Aiba N. Fabrication of custom-made ceramic restorations using Willi Geller's Technique. Quint Dent Technol 1992;15:47-56.
  10. McLaren EA. The skeleton buildup technique: A systemic approach to the three-dimensional control of shade and shape. Pract Periodont Aesthet Dent 1998;10(5):587-597.



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