Have you ever glanced over to smile at a stranger, and the smile you see back is glaringly white and perfect? Like, a bit too perfect? In instances like these, it’s obvious that someone has had dental work done. And while it may look nice, the goal of cosmetic or restorative dentistry is to appear as if you have not had any work done. If the dental work is not subtle, then it’s almost as obvious as having a metal crown in the middle of your smile. Therefore, if you have ever seen a “too-perfect smile,” you know it is crucial to select a dentist that takes time and effort to make your dental crowns appear as similar to your natural teeth as possible.

When choosing the right shade of a new tooth crown or dental implant, color science is not the only important factor. The best dentists will consider the art and skills necessary to select the right color match that appears as natural as possible next to your surrounding teeth. If you have upcoming dental work scheduled and are concerned about a natural tooth color, continue reading to learn more about how to choose a crown shade.

Factors That Affect Shade Selection:

We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase “pearly whites.” But did you know that teeth are not actually “white?” Tooth color ranges from pink to blue, to brown, to yellow and gray hues. Therefore, selecting the right shade for your dental crown depends on several factors.

Natural Shade

When matching your tooth shade, your dentist will consider the color of your natural teeth. Different teeth have different functions and, therefore, different thicknesses. For instance, canine teeth have thicker layers than your front teeth because they are used for ripping and tearing. The build-up of these layers may be visibly more yellow than the teeth next to them. Therefore, your dentist will take the tooth placement into account before selecting a shade.


Even if you keep your teeth in amazing shape, teeth that have existed for a lifetime will show some wear and discoloration. Therefore, as a senior, if you show up to a family function with new white teeth in an unnaturally bright shade, it may not seem fitting. Your dentist can select a shade that is a tad darker that will blend well and allow you to continue to show off your beautiful smile without drawing negative attention.


Are you a big coffee, tea, or wine drinker? If so, your teeth may be a bit stained, even if you brush and floss regularly. Therefore, it would not be wise to pop in a stark white tooth next to natural teeth that have a bit of staining.

Some dentists will recommend that you have your teeth whitened before selecting your color shade so that they can match your new tooth to the bleach shade. But it is important to note that most materials used for dental crowns will not stain, therefore, even if your teeth are whitened before color matching, if you continue to drink staining liquids, your natural teeth will stain, but the crown will not, and can become more evident over time.

Process of Shade Selection:

To begin the process of color shade selection, your dentist will hold up a shade tab next to your teeth to see what each color looks like next to your smile. There are many popular brands of shade tabs, such as Vita Shades, Vita Classical, and Chroma. Your dentist will be familiar with their chosen brand.

It is important to do a shade match in a dental lab that mimics natural light conditions and to avoid environmental factors such as bright lipstick, bright-colored clothing, shadowed light, etc. The naked eye perceives colors differently under different conditions. Therefore to receive the best results, your dentist will ensure these factors are not an issue.

Discussing Shade with Your Dentist

At East Valley Dental Professionals, we desire to give you the most beautiful and natural smile possible. Our team is available to explain our color-matching strategy and address all of your concerns before your procedures are scheduled. If you’re ready to achieve a perfectly-matched smile, give us a call today.