My colourful maw

Today I went for a tooth colour matching.

Why? Well, back in November 2010, I had a little accident. While walking up our front steps at home, I slipped on the wet tiles. Under my right arm was an Ikea box, held with both hands. With no hands free to cushion my landing, my front teeth took the full impact, shattering as they met one of the terracotta treads. As I rose, I could make out tens of pieces of enamel through the tears that were forming in my eyes. I was inconsolable.

Almost a year later, I’ve had lots of dental treatment and paid lots of associated bills, with thanks to my dad for his much appreciated contribution.

By 9am, my daughter and I were 20 miles from home having ridden six Tube trains and were sat in a dental laboratory in Northwood Hills. We were there to ensure that the two crowns that filled the gap you can see in the photo were the right colour. And it’s quite an art.

Because teeth are not white. Their colouring is subtle, with elements of opaqueness. And it was these subtleties that my technician, Raul, was trying to replicate.

To do so, seemingly oddly, he used paint. He had a colour palette containing, among others, colours you wouldn’t immediately associate with teeth: blues, browns, oranges, reds, yellows. Certainly an array beyond those that form the average American’s view of the average British maw. He went through two iterations, each heated to 800°C before we were both happy.

The result was tremendous. I struggled to tell the difference between the natural front tooth and its new neighbours. I couldn’t take them away with me, but I can’t wait for the last dental appointment of the series, when my smile will once again be complete.


One Response to “My colourful maw”

  1. The Caped Crusader on October 19th, 2011 18:23

    Porsche will paint your car to match the colour of any random object you care to take to them, as I daresay will many other prestige manufacturers.

    Mind you, B&Q will also promise to mix you a paint to match any swatch (what’s a ‘swatch’?) you give them, so it can’t be that hard! I would be slightly nervous if an artist appeared with a palette and started mixing colours to match my teeth – surely they could clamp your pearly-whites (still attached to your gums) in front of some sort of colour analyser and do it automatically?

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