Shade matching is a significant treatment step and a challenge for the clinical team with potentially high costs for color correction. Currently, in the United States, the majority of private dental practitioners use visual color matching, but a recent study has reported a high rate of mistakes of subjective color determination among graduate dentists.


The aim of this retrospective study is to analyze whether a change in the oral background due to dental occlusion can influence tooth color determination.


Volunteer dental students underwent spectrophotometric color assessment using the SpectroShade device. Two measurements were carried out (with the individuals’ occlusion closed and with the occlusion open) on 43 upper central and 58 lateral incisors. Association between colorimetric variables L*, a*, b* and ΔE00 and tooth width, length and tobacco usage were examined.


Slight changes in the CIELAB values between closed and open occlusions were found for both the gingival and the central sections as for the overall tooth area, with mean ΔL*=-1.24, Δa*=-1.77, Δb*=-1.42 and ΔE00=1,84. A larger difference was detected in the incisal area, with mean ΔL*=-2.99, Δa*=-1.76, Δb*=-2.83 and ΔE00=3.65.


In conclusion, our study showed that dental occlusion does not play a significant role in tooth color matching determinations, even though attention to avoid overbite due to a maximum intercuspation should be made.

Keywords: Color, Occlusion, Color assessment, Color selection, Spectrophotometry, Colorimetry.
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