Once upon a time, you could only get medical gloves in one color…boring. Now, medical gloves come in a variety of materials and a rainbow of colors. Although practitioners love the choices, having such a color choice is not always best. Here’s why.

You see, teeth naturally reflect what is around them. When someone is wearing a red shirt, their teeth take on a red hue. If they are sitting on a blue sofa, their teeth reflect more blue. You may not recognize that this is happening in everyday life because it doesn’t really matter. However, when it comes to taking shades, true color matching obviously matters.

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Reflections Matter

Because teeth reflect their environment, that environment needs to be protected from competing colors when determining shades and taking shade photographs. We frequently see photos of teeth and shade tabs that look okay upon first glance. However, upon closer inspection, we begin to see colors that aren’t in the mouth. In these next two photos, the green reflecting off of the shade tab is also reflecting off the teeth.

And in this next photo the pink from the glove is reflecting off of the teeth and adversely affecting the perception of color.

The color of the gloves will reflect in the teeth

Remember, the colors of nature are truly represented in natural dentition: pink, red, gray, blue, brown, black, yellow…and yes, sometimes even green. Even though those colors may, in fact, be present, you don’t want us to see them unless they are actually there!

Sometimes Boring is Best

It isn’t unusual for us to ask a patient to remove lipstick or cover brightly colored clothing before taking a shade or doing a custom stain in the lab. And it’s also always important to keep in mind things in our office or in your operatory are in close proximity to the teeth and skewing the natural color of the teeth.

Ask the patient to remove bright lipstick

Cover up bright clothing

Here are some boring tips to keep in mind:

  • Remove any lipstick or gloss from the patient’s lips
  • Cover brightly colored clothing – yours or the patient’s
  • Take photos in a room that uses Natural Daylight

And although you now have a choice of colors, using light blue, skin-tone, or neutral-colored gloves is your best choice. These simple changes can make a big difference in the accuracy of photos and the satisfaction of your patients.

Neutral or light blue gloves have minimal impact on the color of the photo