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Eye-tech or High-tech? How do you select your tooth shade?


Technology plays such a big part in our personal and professional lives. Esthetic dentistry and esthetic results are important in dentistry especially when it comes to tooth shade selection. This article, Reliability of visual and instrumental color matching, in the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry looks at the difference between using the human eye and technology to reliably choose a tooth shade over several sessions.


This study investigated the ability of observers to match tooth shades visually and with a dental spectrophotometer over several sessions.


A variety of dental professionals (dentists, dental lab technicians, assistants) were asked to match tooth shades for a central incisor crown of different shades using the traditional visual methods using both VITA classical A1-D4 and VITA Toothguide 3D Master shade guides. In addition, shade matching was also conducting using an instrument, VITA Easyshade Advance intraoral spectrophotometer. The shade matching was performed for three sessions held 4-6 weeks apart.

The investigators assessed the percentage of agreement of intra-rater (same observer) and mean percentage of inter-rater (amongst observers) shade selection.


Reliablity of the results, intra-rater (same observer) and inter-rater (amongst observers) suggest that the use of an instrument to colour-match is a useful tool to improve the final esthetic outcomes of restorations.


Igiel C, Lehmann KM, Ghinea G, Weyhrauch M, Hangx Y, Scheller H, Paravina RD. Reliability of visual and instrumental color matching. J Esthet Restor Dent. 2017; 29:303–308.

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