Shade Matching In Dentistry

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Shade determination for any restorative work in dentistry is both historically, and currently a major challenge for dentists (Clark, 1931). Along with function, aesthetics is one of the most important aspects of any restorative work to a patient. With this being considered, it is important for a dentist to know the options available for shade selection and to choose the method that is best suited to each case.
“Closely matching natural teeth with an artificial restoration can be one of the most challenging procedures in restorative dentistry” (Fondriest, 2003).

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The aim of this review is to decide whether digital shade matching is more reliable than visual matching in a dental
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Within digital shade matching, there are many methods available and the principal issue is deciding which method performs the best. In one such experiment, digital imaging was compared to a colorimeter (Yamanel et al., 2010). These results showed again that provided the camera is calibrated properly and the light conditions are suitable, digital imaging is better than a colorimeter.
In a study to compare visual shade matching and colorimeter shade matching (Li and Wang 2007), it was found that colorimeters were both more accurate and more repeatable than visual methods. Another study focused solely on the repeatability of colorimeters (Tung et al., 2002). This found that an intraoral dental colorimeter was both reliable and repeatable. In a comparative study between a colorimeter and the Shade Vision System, it was found that the colorimeter performed better, however the results were not conclusive (Cho et al., 2007).
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One such study (Hugo et al., 2005), found both methods to be good. Whilst there were some disagreements between the shades picked by each method, the authors accepted that “mismatching has to be expected” and so, the decision lies with each dentist as to whether or not the investment in more expensive colour shade matching is worth the results.
Another in vivo study found that both an intra-oral dental colorimeter and visual shade determination both provided acceptable results (Yilmaz and Karaagaclioglu, 2008). This study was carried out with prosthodontists. This would raise the question whether or not other dental areas would yield such results. One study I found expanded on this question. It was found that when using a colorimeter, it benefited novice dental professionals more than it benefited experienced dentists (Klemetti et al., 2006).
Another study found no major difference between the conventional visual assessment and photocolorimetric analysis (Dancy et al.,
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