Shade Taking Guide

Taking a shade and communicating it to the lab technician to achieve optimal results is easier said than done. Here are some tips for taking shades:
  • Shade selection for crowns, bridges, laminate veneers or inlays should be undertaken prior to any operative procedure or preparation (the color of the teeth will change as they loose moisture during preparation)

  • Facial cosmetics, particularly lipstick should be removed, any brightly colored clothing should be covered with a gray or light blue bib as this will affect the apparent shade of the patients teeth.

  • We recommend color corrected lights or a shade wand when taking shades.

  • Always seek a second opinion during shade determination

  • Involve the patient in the shade selection process (this should help avoid possible patient dissatisfaction with the completed restoration)

  • When using the current Vita Shade Guide it is important to be aware that the shade guide tabs are organized into color groups of similar hues within the holder. The A shades are brown, B shades are yellow, C shades are grey and the D shades reddish-grey.

  • Shade determination should be carried out in 10 second time periods, as eye fatigue will affect the accuracy of the selection. Refresh the cones of the eye by observing a grey or light blue background color between assessments.

  • The middle third of the teeth should be matched with the middle third of the shade guide tabs as this represents the main body color of the restoration.

  • Observe the teeth adjacent to the tooth to be restored and confirm your initial selection by removing a single shade tab and placing it between adjacent teeth.

  • Having selected the hue of the teeth, the chroma (intensity of color) and value (lightness) can then be determined. The hue families in the guide are numbered 1 to 4, with chroma Increasing and lightness decreasing as the numbers rise.

  • Cervical and incisal shades that differ from that of the selected shade guide tab may be selected at this stage by comparison with adjacent shade guide tabs.

  • Other shade characteristics such as crack lines, incisal transluceny or opacities can be drawn on the prescription.


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3549 Airport Road, Suite 106, Waterford, MI 48329
Phone: (248)623-2600 Fax: (248)623-2602