Each manufacturer of teeth makes their own shade guide. Use the shade guide of the manufacturer of the teeth you are going to use. We use a lot of Verident (this is the brand name of a plastic tooth made by Universal Lactona Dental Co. of Montgomeryville Pa.) in the school.
You obviously can't select teeth without the shade. You will get the size from the mounting.
Forgetting to take the shade is probably the biggest waste of time in denture construction.
The patient ultimately decides the shade but you have to guide them. Select three shades and show each to the patient. Select a shade that goes well with the skin color and the age of the patient. Don't show them the whole shade guide. Women usually want the lightest shade possible.
If they like their old denture teeth then match them. Write down the selection.
Remember to keep your chair light off the teeth, because this will change the color perception. Also do not stare at the teeth. Short glances will prevent the eyes from accommodating. Your fluorescent bulbs are fine for matching colors but daylight (if it's not cloudy or night time) is considered the best.
However if you consider that the patient is going to spend most of the time under fluorescent light then maybe artificial light is the best. Color matching for complete dentures is not a problem.
Remember that you can't get teeth until 50% of the total cost of the prosthesis has been paid.
Matching shades for crowns is more complicated. Here the predictable indoor light is best. Be aware that older fluorescent bulbs, too bright a light, the kinds of bulbs, plastic diffusers, your own genetic visual disabilities, aging, medication, all have a negative effect on color perception.
In time you will be able to make a digital photo of a tooth you want to match and email it to the lab.
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©1999 by Julius Rosen, D.D.S.