Journal Name: Current Dentistry


Author(s): María M. Pérez*, Oscar E. Pecho, Razvan Ghinea, Rosa Pulgar, Alvaro Della Bona.


Background: The final goal of color measurement or shade specification in dentistry is the reproduction by prosthetic materials of all important appearance characteristics of natural oral structures. The application of color science in dentistry is an objective way to measure and evaluate such structures and dental materials in clinical practice and dental research.

Methods: Literature on color science was reviewed to present new metrics to evaluate color differences of dental materials and dental structures. Visual acceptability and perceptibility values of color differences are reviewed and new whiteness indexes to describe whiteness in dentistry are presented.

Results: In the last decade, the CIELAB 50:50% perceptibility and acceptability thresholds were set to 1.2 and 2.7, respectively, and the CIEDE2000 50:50% perceptibility and acceptability thresholds were set to 0.8 and 1.8. The CIEDE2000 color-difference formula became increasingly popular in dentistry. Developments in color science have led to the description of tooth whiteness and changes in tooth whiteness based on whiteness indexes, with the most relevant being the WID whiteness index, which is a customized index based in CIELAB color space.

Conclusion: The application of color science in dentistry has allowed the precise description of tooth color and whiteness. The revised and new CIEDE2000 color-difference formula is expected to fully replace the outdated CIELAB formula in almost all dental applications. Recent psychophysical studies have reported values of visual thresholds and new whiteness indexes, which can serve as quality control tools to guide the selection of esthetic dental materials, evaluate clinical performance, and interpret visual and instrumental findings in clinical dentistry, dental research, and subsequent standardization. To read out more, please visit: