The very nature and purpose of all-ceramic materials, like Ivoclar Vivadent’s IPS e.max and empress, is to emulate the natural characteristics of the surrounding dentition. With a high level of translucency and light having the ability to permeate these all-ceramic restorations; many factors affect the final esthetics. With these materials, comes the added task of concealing the color of the prepped tooth or the ‘stump shade’. Therefore, achieving acceptable esthetics is made difficult and sometimes impossible without record of the stump shade. For example, if the stump shade is dark this darkness from the preparation will emanate throughout the restoration. In other words, a correctly shaded restoration will become a different shade all together when placed in the mouth. Conversely, if the stump shade is known at the time of fabrication, steps can be taken to deliver a restoration that is esthetically pleasing and accurate to the desired final shade.

According to Ivoclar Vivadent, ‘it has to be kept in mind that the final shade of the restoration is the result of the following individual shades: die shade [stump shade], shade of the ingot, shade of the layering ceramic, and shade of the cementation material’. The laboratory will make the selection for ingot and layering ceramic based on the desired shade of the restoration and the stump shade provided.

By obtaining a stump shade at the time of preparation; money and time can be saved by eliminating the re-shade or remake of a restoration and the subsequent second appointment. With proper communication between dentist and laboratory, exemplary esthetics and color match can be delivered to the patient with a high degree of satisfaction.


Fig. 1 Stump shade communication: Basic Shade 4M3 with graying at the margin.
(A photograph is always helpful and can be emailed to PDA)

Troy Gasser, President, PDA Dental Laboratory
Travis Gasser, Technical Support, PDA Dental Laboratory