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Dent Mater J. 2016 Dec 1;35(6):845-854. Epub 2016 Aug 20.

Opalescence of human teeth and dental esthetic restorative materials.

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Institute for Clinical Performance of Biomaterials (ICPB) and ETN Dental Clinic.


Human tooth enamel is opalescent, which renders teeth bluish in reflected and orange in transmitted color. The aim was to review opalescent property of teeth and application and mimetic reproduction in esthetic restorations. A PubMed search for articles published in English till 2015 on the opalescence of teeth and esthetic materials revealed 29 relevant papers. Opalescence was measured with OP-RT index, which was calculated as the difference in the yellow-blue and red-green color coordinates between the reflected and transmitted colors. Mean OP-RT value of human enamel was 22.9. OP-RT values of direct resin composites changed after polymerization, and the range in these materials was 5.7-23.7. OP-RT value ranges were 1.6-6.1 and 2.0-7.1 for the core and veneer ceramics, respectively. Since the OP-RT values of esthetic materials were lower than that of enamel, it is recommended that materials that can reproduce the opalescence of enamel be further designed.

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