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Digital Shade Matching in 2023 Plus Top 3 Benefits

 At this day and age when the Dental field is fast progressing towards going fully digital, there are a lot of technological advancements that come out in the market every year.  For this blog post, we will be looking into Digital Shade Matching Devices – where we are right now and the top 3 benefits of embracing this technology.


There are several ways to match a shade in dentistry. The one that we are most familiar with and the one that is widely used are the analog shade guides. They have been around for years and dentists all over the world have used them successfully time and time again.  However, with the increasing complexity of colors and increasing passion for beauty, a demand was created for tools that can bring objectivity and precision. Hence, digital shade matching devices were created.


At present, within the category of digital shade matching devices, there are 2 different technologies utilized:

1.     Colorimetry- Use of a digital camera or 3D scanner or a shade analyzer to capture an image of the patient's teeth, which is then processed by a simple data processor to determine the shade. This method uses the RGB color profile which is reliant on the different hues of red, green and blue colors. This technology simulates how our eyes perceive color.

2. Spectrophotometry- Use of a specialized device called spectrophotometer that measures the reflectivity and absorption of light by the teeth, which can then be analyzed to determine the shade of the tooth. This technology goes beyond what the eye can see and performs full-spectrum color measurement.



Intraoral Scanner
Fig 1: Intraoral Scanner with Smart Shade Function (Colorimeter)


Rayplicker Cobra Spectrophotometer
Fig 2: Rayplicker Cobra Digital Shade Spectrophotometer


Spectrophotometers are deemed to be more precise since they cover a wider range of color wavelengths compared to the RGB colors that colorimeters use. Regardless of what device you have, here are the top 3 benefits of incorporating these types of devices in your workflow:



Let’s admit it- color is in the eye of the beholder. One person might see a tooth having an A3 shade and another D3. Can they both be right? Well, it depends on the lighting conditions, and it can depend on how well it blends with the adjacent teeth.

With a digital shade matching device, this step becomes more objective with less operator bias. Shade taking becomes more accurate and there’ll be less remakes due to wrong shade.



Using a digital device can definitely provide consistent and reproducible results, thus reducing the risk of errors or discrepancies between different shade matching attempts. And in case you forget the shade you just took, you can go back to your device and double check rather than second guess or have the patient come back to your office.



Digital shade matching device allows dentists to relay to the lab the exact shade they desire for their patients. Through the software, the lab can visually see the color maps and the different nuances involved in producing the right colors for the restorations. So even for highly esthetic cases, the lab has a better visual of the type of restoration that the patient needs.



Rayplicker Vision 9-part shade information
9-part Tooth Shade Information
Rayplicker Vision Shade Mapping information
Tooth Shade Mapping


Fig 3: Rayplicker Vision Software – Aids in analyzing the shade taken and mapping the colors in the different areas of the teeth which helps the labs design the restoration

Overall, digital shade matching devices can help to improve the accuracy, efficiency, and patient experience of shade matching in dentistry, leading to better outcomes and more satisfied patients.


If you want to get the best pricing on one of the most accurate dental spectrophotometers in the market today, give us a call at 1-800-323-2690 and ask about the Rayplicker Quickshade and Rayplicker Cobra.

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