What's shade got to do with it?

April 1, 2011
What's shade got to do with it? With all due respect to Tina Turner's 1984 song, "What's Love Got to Do With It," there are a variety of challenges ...

by Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MeD, FAADH
[email protected]

What's shade got to do with it? With all due respect to Tina Turner's 1984 song, "What's Love Got to Do With It," there are a variety of challenges facing restorative dentistry today, and what does shade taking have to do with it? In a nutshell, everything. Trish Jones, RDH, BS, presents a program designed to engage dental team members in all aspects of taking dental shades entitled "Simplify Shade Taking."

The program reviews the basics of color (chroma, hue, value), color perception including color deficiencies and color correcting light, and the processes needed to obtain the correct shade. Whether the hygienist or dental team member is asked about whitening, single-tooth restorations, or complete smile design, he or she should have a complete understanding of the process. Trish's program gives participants the tips and tricks needed to maximize efficiency and proficiency in shade taking to increase productivity and the value of the practice.

The goals for Simplify Shade Taking are:

  • Identify how the eye perceives color
  • Define color blindness and factors that alter color perception
  • Understand the importance of chroma, hue, and value
  • Elevate shade communication skills with all team members including laboratories
  • Review and interpret shade guides and shade devices
  • Use tips and tricks for taking accurate shades
  • Review and clarify shade properties of dental materials and the effects of cements and bonds
  • Establish shade-taking protocols for an office to improve productivity and efficiency

Trish also has programs called "The Esthetic Connection: Current Esthetic Dental Restorative Choices" and "High Tech Care for High Tech Restored Smiles." The Esthetic Connection focuses on current indirect esthetic restorative materials, while the High Tech program discusses creating a customized smile program that exceeds patients' expectations to maximize the longevity and beauty of restored smiles. Additionally in the Shade Taking program, the hygienist will learn how to not only take a baseline shade, but also to discuss dental shading as it relates to the patient's hair color, complexion, and restorations.

Hygienists should participate in the program because esthetic dentistry is here to stay. Consumers demand products that enhance their smiles. Discussing shading with patients by the hygienist can be a valuable asset to a practice. The health and color of the gingival tissues can affect perceptions of teeth color, and hygienists are in an excellent position to explain this to patients. However, all team members would benefit from participating since the program is designed as a total team concept. Trish stresses cross-training in all aspects of the restorative arena.

Trish has not only practiced as a clinical hygienist, she was also a technical advisor for one of the dental laboratories at LVI Global Institute in Las Vegas, a post graduate teaching institution for dentists and teams. She has witnessed thousands of esthetic cases and found that dental team members lack comfort when taking shades.

Trish discovered that most practices don't have protocols for shade taking until they participate in a smile design and shade taking continuing education program. She began conducting research and designed a program to help clients take better shades and reduce the number of retakes needed. For patients, the shade and shape of the teeth are important; for dentists, it is the prep and impressions. But it is ultimately the patient's needs and wants that drive the process.

Educating dental professionals on the skills necessary to produce that ultimate smile has become a primary interest of Trish's. She enjoys taking the technical information and making it practical through analogies. She provides participants with "relief sheets," quick and easy handouts to take back to practice. She also includes participatory activities such as demonstrations and optical illustrations.

Trish is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. She has degrees in dental hygiene and health-care management, and she practiced dental hygiene for many years. A move to Nevada and an opportunity to work with dentists and their teams at LVI ensued. At LVI, she had a variety of opportunities to be creative and developed programs designed to increase communications between the dental office and dental lab.

Her husband accepted a job that moved the family to Texas, where Trish decided to develop her own company, JonesTec Dental Consulting. She empowers dental teams to enhance esthetic communications and to make the esthetic connection (the TEC in JonesTec) with patients, dentists, and the laboratory. She feels that hygienists and the rest of the dental team are essential members of the practice and should be involved in all aspects of esthetic dentistry for it to be successful.

Trish's motto of "Live for Now" encompasses all of the interests in her life. From her husband, son, and daughter, to honoring her mother's memory by participating in diabetes fund-raisers, to presenting programs to dental teams on esthetic dentistry, Trish strives to enlighten and help others achieve that dream smile.

For information on Trish's programs or JonesTec Dental Consulting, contact [email protected].

This month's featured IneedCE.com article is titled: "Circling in on Infection Prevention." Infection prevention is a key process in the dental office for the protection of patients and clinicians. Infection prevention is aimed at breaking the chain of infection following rigorous protocols. This CE program reviews the chain of infection, host susceptibilty, hand hygiene and other preventive measures, and post-procedure steps to ensure adequate infection control within the dental office. Visit IneedCE.com for more information.

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, is a fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and a member of ADHA and other professional associations. Ann-Marie presents continuing-education programs for hygienists and dental team members and has written numerous articles on a variety of topics. She can be reached at [email protected].

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