The repeatability of an intraoral dental colorimeter

Francis F. Tung, Gary R. Goldstein, Sungkoo Jang, Eugene Hittelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statement of problem. Characterizing and reproducing color remain one of the most challenging aspects of dentistry. A relatively new intraoral colorimeter measures the color of natural teeth and metal-ceramic restorations and prints out a color recipe for the Vintage Halo Porcelain System. The reliability of the colorimeter is unknown. Purpose. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of a contact dental colorimeter and to correlate the shade registered by the colorimeter with the shade selected by experienced clinicians. Material and methods. In part I of the study, 2 examiners (A and B) took 2 colorimeter measurements from the maxillary right central incisors of 11 subjects. The examiners were blinded to their own data and those of other investigators. The readings were repeated 3 weeks later with the same protocol. The Cronbach α reliability coefficient was used to analyze the collected data. In part II of the study, 2 experienced clinicians (examiners D and E) selected a shade from the classic Vita Lumin Vacuum shade guide for the maxillary right central incisors of the same 11 subjects. The clinicians were blinded to each other's selections and the colorimeter readings. It should be noted that the manufacturer of the colorimeter uses the terms shade, value, and hue to represent chroma, value, and hue, respectively, as defined in the Glossary of Prosthodontic Terms (J Prosthet Dent 1999;81: 39-110). Results. The reliability analysis results for each of the combined trials for shade, value, and hue were all >.94. The interexaminer reliability a values were >.9 for shade and value and .64 to .74 for hue. The interexaminer α represented the value range of each of 4 measurements. The intraexaminer reliability a values for shade, value, and hue were .99, .95, and .96 for examiner A and .99, .93, and .97 for examiner B, respectively. In part II of the study, the colorimeter agreed with itself 82% of the time, whereas clinicians agreed with each other on the selected shade 73% of the time. Selections made by the colorimeter and the clinicians matched 55% to 64% of the time. Conclusion. Within the limitations of this study, the colorimeter reliably measured the color of natural teeth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-590
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery


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