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J Dent. 2004;32 Suppl 1:3-12.

Tooth colour: a review of the literature.

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Unilever Oral Care, Quarry Road East, Bebington, Wirral, UK.



To review current knowledge with respect to tooth colour and its measurement.


'Medline' database for the period 1966 to the present day and 'ISI Web of Science' database for the period 1974 to the present day were searched electronically with key words tooth, teeth, colour and color.


The colour and appearance of teeth is a complex phenomenon, with many factors such as lighting conditions, translucency, opacity, light scattering, gloss and the human eye and brain influencing the overall perception of tooth colour. The measurement of tooth colour is possible via a number of methods including visual assessment with shade guides, spectrophotometry, colourimetry and computer analysis of digital images. These methods have successfully been used to measure longitudinal tooth colour changes when the dentition has undergone tooth whitening procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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