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Why do some teeth look so fake?

Why do some teeth look so fake? It is all in the COLOR

by Dr. Thomas Connelly, Cosmetic Dentist, New York, NY

Color is what makes a dental tooth look real. Not weather the veneers is too white or the wrong size, ultimately it is the color. If your dentist and ceramist do not understand the four parameters of color - than you may end up with fake looking dentistry.

Color is divided into four parameter:

  • Hue
  • Chroma
  • Value
  • Translucency

Hue is simply the color tone, i.e. red, blue, yellow, etc. The term Hue is synonymous with color. Chroma is the intensity or the saturation of the hue, i.e. light blue or dark blue. Value is the relative lightness or darkness of the hue. Translucency is the three-dimensional representation of value. Translucency is abstract and intangible, and is difficult to measure and standardize currently. Translucently is best represented by value differences. Highly translucent teeth tend to lower in value, since they allow light to transmit through the tooth and absorb the shadows and darkness of the mouth behind the teeth. More opaque teeth allow less light transmittance; they are more reflective in nature and, therefore appear brighter. The characteristic of translucency must also be present in the restorative materials in order to achieve a natural appearance and avoid the opaque, dead appearance. Translucency and value are the most important characteristics in shade selection, since hue is not easily detectable, and since there is a lack of chroma in the lighter shades.

Value differences are easier to identify, since there are more rods than cones in the anatomy of the human eye. There is an inverse relationship between chroma and value. With increasing chroma there is decreasing value.

Spectral colors are the colors of light in the visible light spectrum. Even though white light appears colorless and intangible, it is formed by distinct electromagnetic energy. When light passes through a prism, it is refracted, and the light energy is dispersed into the various wavelengths of white light - hence the acronym ROY G BIV, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. After a rain shower, we often see a rainbow, since the water droplets in the sky act as miniature natural prisms. The color of the sky also appears different at various times of the day.

In dentistry we must have a complete understanding of pigment colors. The interaction of colors has a role of critical importance in the esthetic outcome of dental porcelain veneers. So when we are creating porcelain veneers, we want to use a porcelain that reflects light, in the same manner and degree as human enamel reflects light. We also want the structure of the material (the lattice work, framing, building blocks) of the veneer to be assembled similarly to human enamel. Otherwise, even thought a material may be white, as we see above; it doesn't necessarily mean it will look like a tooth.

About Dr. Connelly

Bringing over a decade of experience to his cosmetic practices spanning the Northeast, Dr. Connelly recently opened his practice in Manhattan at the office of Dr. Torrado on Central Park South while his new luxurious office is under construction in Mid-town Manhattan. Dr.Connelly's work spans many generations and walks of life. Moms, corporate executives, celebrities, professional athletes, runway models - Dr. Connelly has built his reputation by inviting everyone into his practices.

Dr. Connelly received his dental training at the Mayo Clinic, the University of Detroit Mercy and Louisiana State University. Dr. Connelly has also served a clinical instructor at Harvard University dental school inBoston. After practicing with Marc Lowenberg and Gregg Lituchy in Manhattan, Dr. Connelly expanded his cosmetic dental practice to Boston, MA, Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH.

Gurel, G. Porcelain Laminate Veneers.2003

New York City Cosmetic Dentist