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Shade taking

Appointment at our Laboratory


An appointment is pre-scheduled for the patient, as directed by the doctor.


If the patient is bleaching, we recommend waiting two weeks for the colour to stabilize prior to taking the shade.


Please do not put on lipstick before the appointment.


Two visits to the lab might be necessary. 


The first appointment shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. The technician takes a shade using Vita 3D – Master Shade Guide and then it is cross-referenced with the Vita Easyshade. The close-up photo of the teeth may also be taken.


Usually a subsequent visit is necessary to check the restoration for colour. Depending on the complexity of the shade,  this adjustment can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.


Please note, that we are a home-based business. When you arrive at the address, you'll see the gate to your right. Walk to the back of the house, where you'll find the door to the laboratory. 





Shade Taking Tips for Dentists


  1. Before starting the shade taking process it's important to talk to the patient to determine expectations. IMPORTANT- If the patient is bleaching, wait two weeks for the colour to stabilize prior to taking the shade.

  2. Teeth dehydrate very quickly, so take the shade of the tooth at the beginning of the dental appointment.

  3. Have the patien tremove her lipstick and cover any brightly coloured clothing with a neutral coloured bib (gray, light blue or white).

  4. Sit patient upright and use ambient light (not direct light), preferably in a room with a window or colour-corrected lights, ideally 5500 degrees Kelvin. Most operatory lights produce a yellow or orange light, which will influence the colour of the tooth.

  5. Keep coloured exam gloves away from the tooth to be shaded. This too will influence the colour of the teeth. 

  6. Try both the classic Vita shade guide as well as the 3D Vita shade guide. Hold the entire shade guide to the mouth and visually scan all tabs using process of elimination. Once the selection is narrowed down, do not stare at the tab for more than 10 seconds (the eye will compensate and everything will appear to match).

  7. Ask your assistant for a second opinion. Please note that on average, more men are colour blind than women.

  8. Take a photo. Even a photo from a smartphone is better than nothing. Like the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Be sure that the shade tab selected is in the photo and position it on the same plane as the tooth.

  9. Communicate to the laboratory if the patient has had endo or has dark underlying tooth structure after prepping. If so, pictures of the prep with a shade tab are also helpful. A shade of the prep (stump shade) is a must for all E.max restorations. 

  10. Characterization can be tricky! Let us know if the patient has a halo, tetracycline stains, hypo-calcification, etc. If there are any doubts regarding the color, send the patient to the dental lab (fee for service).


We suggest taking shade with the Vita 3D Master Shade Guide, as it provides the most realistic representation of teeth colour. Vita 3D Linearguide is a more user-friendly version of the guide.


  • First, determine the value by selecting the closest match from 1 of 5 value groups.

  • Second, determine the chroma within the value group from 3 choices.

  • Finally, select the hue by determining whether the natural tooth has a more yellow or red

cast than the shade sample selected.


Perfect Smile| Vita 3D Master Shade Guide
Perfect Smile| 3D Linearguide
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