The color of the theeth

Light science for the living tooth

Sdt Alberto Battistelli

Coloring teeth is a daily operation for both dental technicians and dentists with various materials, but how many really know what they are doing? If I have to tell it like it is, much less than you think and than I myself could believe. I have been teaching courses on the shape and color of ceramics, etc. for 40 years. but excluding the great and immense Bebi Spina, true master of all, I have not seen logic based on the science of light on the palettes of many workbenches, I have perceived a real awareness in mixing the various shades on the part of the “gurus” I have frequented in the 80s and 90s around the world. It’s true many make beautiful teeth but how to teach this to others is another thing! As long as we are faced with concepts such as hue, chroma, value, some basic notion emerges, but as soon as we ask why the “value” is more important than the other two, the answer always and only ends up in gray and no one has ever been able to say something more about what, how and where the human brain processes these parameters and what the implications are in everyday reality. Nobel Prize winners on the topic do not appear in any dental book and this is very serious!

In the same way as the Nobel to our Montalcini, so important for understanding how the human brain is remodeled and how from this one learns and unlearns by knowing the effects of the “growth factor” when one claims to teach something, also the Nobel to Hubel and Wiesel on “visual knowledge” has never appeared in dental books on the merit. Question: “Why if I want to do A3 and I use all the A3 colors, A3 doesn’t come? This is the basic question, but then there is more to ask: Why even if the color is right can it look fake? Or dead? Mixing colors without knowing that pigments are subjected to subtractive laws is serious because it is the basis of knowledge on which the master Bebi Spina wrote his most important book and ignoring it or forgetting about it is a daily “suicide”, but also not knowing the laws of contrasts and not knowing how to insert them when we place masses or pigments next to them is equally serious. I have personally witnessed an immense amount of demonstrations by many aesthetic experts, perceiving only technical or, worse, commercial rather than scientific indications! Coming home after a course looking for the solution to ignorance by buying yet another box set is a “sport” that we can no longer afford. Replacing knowledge with buying always puts the business economy at risk. It is very important to put the science of light at the service of the “living tooth”, rather than the exact color of the sample.

A tooth that naturally blends in with the rest of the remaining teeth respects the laws of diffusion, reflection, refraction, etc. of light and to do this for my part I prefer to think like an impressionist painter, where there is always “a bit of sky in the earth and a bit; of earth in the sky”, putting into practice everything I know about Hitten’s laws of contrasts, but also adding to the “subtractive system” the “partitive system” for the control of value, as well as the concept of veiling for the management of translucency real or simulated. Regarding the choice of colour, there is a world of knowledge that today can be supported by technology, which however cannot in any way ignore the human component which remains and will remain at the center of the excellence of the results and by specific scientific knowledge, such as example the effects of the “subsequent contrast”. For my part, I tried to bring together all the possible knowledge on light, colors, etc. schematizing everything to make it more usable and easier to obtain the vitality of our reconstructions. Simple but practical and enlightening diagrams for dental technicians and dentists to always use in everyday life. Nothing changes if we use this or that material, when we have the right knowledge, in a short time we can understand its characteristics and make the right protocols ourselves to make the most of it. Another issue in the field is dialogue with the patient: knowing that light does not actually exist outside of us, but is a process of each individual brain in response to the stimuli of electromagnetic waves coming from the source and influenced by physical, chemical-biological and psychological factors, on which we must know how to find compromises and the right words. Taking a color after a coffee or a medicine is not something to be considered harmless either from the point of view of the operator or the patient. Hitten said to one of his students:” “If you instinctively manage to create coloristic masterpieces, you can proceed ignoring the chromatic laws, but if by ignoring them you do not create masterpieces, you must commit yourself to their study.” These and many other topics and experiences in the course: Color, light science for the “living tooth”.