Since the early eighties I realized that terms of Color (hue and chroma) was grossly inadequate to describe an illuminated tooth. Color is only one Visual Element that light creates, Value (brightness) and Translucency are the other two major effects.
Present communication provides no reference for translucency and therefore can only provide a limited description of teeth.
For the last thirty years I have listened to dentists describe the frustrations encountered when trying to match the Vita tab to a
patients tooth. A layered shade tab represents an 'ideal' or average tooth. This is a great reference point but we need a language that can describe any variation of this 'ideal' tooth so we can match each patient.
Once I was seeing a redo patient with B1 teeth and observed a very deep translucency. My first restoration was visually unacceptable and much too opaque. Usually we relate more translucence with lower value but these teeth where translucent yet bright (high value). The language of Hue,Chroma and Value could not describe these teeth.
Logic told me that first we must communicate Translucency, Value, then Color, and these three elements should be assigned independently so we could describe any combination or appearance. Translucency and Value references give the ceramist information that indicates how to manipulate the generic build-up to produce any variation of the basic tab. We can easily have any variation of B1 a particular patient needs and deliver it to the dentist the very first time. Without this basic change in our language we will never be able to describe tooth appearance and dentists and ceramists will continue to be frustrated with the process and dissappointed with results an incomplete and limited language produces.