A Novel Dental Shade Determination Tool and Application – SmileShade®

Researchers at Western have developed a novel application to provide an accurate, objective, and systematic approach to shade determination.


Determining the shade of dental materials is a challenging requirement for the restorative dentist. From simple tooth-colored fillings to ceramic crowns, the correct shade needs to be determined and communicated to the dental laboratory for the successful delivery of treatment. Based on the numerous variables associated with shade selection, such as the light source, the tooth, the eye, and retinal fatigue, it proves to be challenging even for the experienced clinician. Moreover, shade selection presents a difficult endeavor for the dental student, with a success rate of 49%. Improper shade selection is the second cause for laboratory remakes, resulting in inefficiency and additional cost, and unnecessary stress for the clinician and patient.

Technology Overview

The process of shade selection is somewhat subjective, with no consensus on protocol. Instrumentation has been developed to assist with the procedure, with limited success, variability in results and cost hindrance. In addition, shade selection has focused on tooth colour, with little to no investigation into the pink shade selection to mimic the soft tissues

Researchers at Western have developed a novel software application to provide an accurate, objective, and systematic approach to shade determination for teeth, soft tissues, and dental materials. An iOS software application was developed, termed Smile Shade, to facilitate a simple approach for dental shade determination. Smile Shade functions on a high-dynamic-range micro-colour sensor with automatic temperature control and inter-device repeatability of <1.0 ∆E. The determination of shade is completed through the evaluation of colour based on CMYK, RGB, and LAB, which are different techniques of storing colours


  • The Smile Shade application was developed to provide a simple, systematic, and objective workflow for the determination of shade
  • Removal of human error in determining shade
  • Automated Application System using a reader can be performed safely at a distance

Additional Info


Western University is currently seeking licensing partnerships and partnerships around advancement of the tool.

IP Status
  • No patent
  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Licensing
  • University spin out
  • Seeking investment

Contact Us and Learn More

Souzan Armstrong

Executive Director


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