Choosing Value…The Most Important Parameter of a Shade

When we send tooth color or shade information to the dental lab, the most important aspect is the value. This is the light reflectiveness of the tooth. We describe it as looking bright or gray. Choosing value is important, and it is often overlooked.

Value is the amount of light reflected off of an object. Low value occurs as light goes through an object or is deflected away from our eyes. High value occurs as light is reflected back to our eyes. Teeth that are lower in value appear grayer. Teeth that are higher in value appear brighter.

Value was difficult for me to choose until I started using the VITA 3D-Master Linearguide system that uses the same designators as the VITA Toothguide 3D-Master system, but additionally has a dark gray card that allows you to make value comparisons from 0 (zero)–the most reflective, to 5–the least reflective. I just put the dark gray value lineation card (shown above) against the patient’s teeth and move it from right to left to find the value that has the same light reflectiveness as the tooth. Based on the value I choose, the VITA 3D-Master Linearguide tells me which cards in the system to use to select the chroma and hue.

Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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