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Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry

Predicting tooth color from facial features and gender: Results from a white elderly cohort

      Statement of problem.

      Clinicians providing edentulous patients with complete dentures are often confronted with the problem of not knowing the patient's natural tooth color. It would be valuable to be able to determine this from other facial features.

      Purpose.

      The purpose of this study was to assess the possibility of predicting tooth color in the elderly from hair and eye color, facial skin complexion, and gender.

      Material and methods.

      The lightness (L*), chroma (C*), and hue (h*) of the color of 541 natural teeth were measured for a white study population (94 subjects, 75 to 77 years old, 55.3% male) by means of a single measurement with a clinically applicable spectrophotometer. Hair and eye color and facial skin complexion were recorded in categories. Mixed-effects regression models were calculated for each L*, C*, and h* value with hair and eye color, facial skin complexion, and gender as independent variables (α=.05).

      Results.

      Only gender and hair color in univariate analysis and, additionally, eye color in multivariate analysis, were significant predictors of tooth color. Higher L* values (lighter color) were associated with lighter eye color and with female gender. The C* value was lower (less saturated) for women. More yellow/green than yellow/red h* values were associated with hair colors other than black and with female gender. However, the parameter estimates of the variables were rather low.

      Conclusions.

      Determination of tooth color from hair and eye color and from gender in the white elderly was only partially possible. (J Prosthet Dent 2008;99:101-106)
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