Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Research Article| Volume 87, ISSUE 2, P149-152, February 2002

Relationship between tooth shade value and skin color: An observational study


      Statement of Problem. There is limited scientific information on the relationship between tooth shade and skin color. This lack of knowledge may impact the ability of the prosthodontist to select artificial teeth that complement the facial complexion of the patient. Purpose. This observational study explored the possibility of a relationship between tooth shade and skin color. Material and Methods. A total of 119 individuals aged 18 to 80 years participated in this observational study. Two investigators calibrated for examining tooth shade performed all examinations. A Vita-Lumin shade guide was used to examine either the maxillary right or left central incisor, one of which had to be restoration- and caries-free for study inclusion. Tooth shades were divided into 4 categories according to value, and skin tones were divided into 4 categories (fair, fair/medium, medium, and dark) with the use of L'Oreal True Illusion compact makeup shades as a guide. Categorical modeling with chi-square analysis and Fisher's exact tests was used to analyze the data (α=.05). Results. No interaction among age, skin color, and tooth shade or gender, skin color, and tooth shade was found; however, age was associated with tooth shade (P<.001). Older persons were more likely to have teeth with lower values (darker). Among those aged 60 and older, 85% had teeth in the medium and low range values compared with 17% of those younger than 31. Significant tooth shade differences were discovered among patients with different skin colors (P<.05). Among those with low values (darker teeth), 50% were of fair complexion and 17% were of dark complexion (P<.001). Conclusion. Within the limitations of this study, tooth shade value and skin color were inversely related. Older adults were more likely to have darker teeth (lower value). (J Prosthet Dent 2002;87:149-52.)
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