Int J Esthet Dent 5 (2010), No. 2 25. May 2010
It would be expedient to develop a simple digital procedure for matching shade guides to teeth for dental restorations. It was hypothesized that precise and objective L*a*b* measurements could be performed on photographic images of teeth and shade guides using commonly available photo software.
Tooth shade guide tabs, shaped like computer-generated posterior crowns, were used for color matching. Digital photographs were obtained of the vestibular surface of the tooth and the neighboring shade guide. Sections of the tooth and shade guide on the photograph were cropped and analyzed in Photoshop CS2. The precision error of the measurements was expressed as the coefficient of variation in percent. The effects of tolerance setting and number of measurements and analysts were evaluated. The difference in color was calculated as the ΔE L*a*b*. The precision errors of the L*a*b* measurements with a tolerance setting of 6 pixels were better than 1.3%. There was no significant difference between one and five repeated measurements or between the measurements and the precision errors of two analysts. Color differences (ΔE) between repeated measurements were below 0.5 units, thus reproducible and visually identical. ΔE L*a*b* calculations were expedient for matching a particular color guide tab to the neighboring tooth.
The color coordinates L*a*b* of teeth and shade guides can be calculated with a precision error of only 1.3%, using readily available software. A tolerance setting of 6 pixels is optimal and only one measurement and one analyst are necessary for objective and precise measurements.
The described digital L*a*b* measurements on a photograph offer the dentist and the ceramist a simple, precise, and objective tool for matching tooth and shade guide.