Dr. Stephen Chu demonstrates
a color moniter for shade matching.
Dr. Chu uses a spectophotometer to get
an exact mapping of the color of surrounding teeth for duplication.
What method would you like your dentist to use
to select the perfect shade for your veneers? The dentist can either
use his or her naked eye to select among conventional shade tabs
and hope that the dental technician matches it correctly, or he
or she can go high-tech by using computer-integrated technology
to digitally analyze and verify the exact shade of surrounding teeth
in order to get an exact mapping of the color for duplication.
This is an area in which Dr. Stephen Chu is an expert.
A Clinical Assistant Professor of Implant Dentistry and Director
of the Advanced Education and International Study Programs in Aesthetic
Dentistry at NYUCD, Dr. Chu has written a book called The Fundamentals
of Color: Understanding Color Theory, Shade Matching, and Color
Communication in Dentistry, to be published in June 2004 by Quintessence
Publishing. Two years ago Dr. Chu completed the first clinical trials
on patients using a reliable science laboratory instrument, a spectrophotometer,
to literally throw light at the tooth in order to create a perfect
map of its color. According to Dr. Chu, this new technology saves
time and money for both the patient and the dentist since it not
only creates a perfect color match, but also is less expensive than
custom-coloring a tooth by hand.
There is only one drawback. At $6,000-$10,000 per
unit, purchasing a spectrophotometer is currently quite costly.
So while Dr. Chu is convinced that the technology is a boon to aesthetic
dentists and their patients, he feels that it has to become more
affordable in order to be adopted by large numbers of practitioners.
“Once the unit becomes more user-friendly
from a cost standpoint, I predict that it will gain wide acceptance,”