Tools of the trade: SpectroShade Micro


micro-con-mano_300dpiby Dr Janice Kan, Perth Prosthodontics, Perth, WA

This is a device that accurately reads the shade and translucency of the tooth. The images can be loaded and sent for analysis to the laboratory to allow for a perfect aesthetic match.

What’s good about it

It can map the shade distribution (hue, chroma and value), translucency and characteristics of the tooth. The results will assist the clinician and laboratory technician to create a natural appearance matched to adjacent teeth.

Most dentists and laboratory technicians use a manual shade guide and rely on visual assessment for shade matching. It is not uncommon to have trouble choosing the right shade. The use of this device is adjunctive to the usual procedure of shade taking and will assist those who wish to strive for clinical excellence and the best aesthetics possible.

I use it every single day for fillings, crown and bridgework, veneer work, pre-and post-tooth whitening shade comparison, laboratory work assessment and communication, and for any situation where it’s important to have a good shade match. This device provides an objective guide that is not impacted by subjective visual assessment and different lighting environments.

What’s not so good

One cannot solely rely on the device for perfect shade match. I recommend cross-checking with a manual shade guide and clinical photographs.

There is also a learning curve to operate the device (shade calibration, steady hand control, patient control to avoid fogging of camera lens, storage of digital image files) and to incorporate it as part of your treatment protocol. Clinicians should also encourage their dental laboratories to utilise the information provided as part of clinical input in the construction of dental prostheses.

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