Assessing tooth color differences in digital facial portraits

D. T. Lindsey, A. G. Wee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Although a large body of scientific literature shows that background color and luminance affect color perception, previous measurements of tooth color difference thresholds have not taken the effects of viewing context into account. The present study tested the hypothesis that differences in skin/gingival color influence individuals' judgments of tooth color differences. Perceptibility and acceptability thresholds were determined in 10 individuals using a signal detection paradigm. They evaluated 500 pseudo-random presentations of two facial portraits: an African-American and a Caucasian. These portraits varied trial-to-trial only in the direction (CIELAB +L*, +a*, or +b*) or magnitude of the color difference between a portrait's two central incisors. The individuals were significantly less sensitive to tooth color differences in the +L* direction in the Caucasian portrait than for any other combination of color direction or portrait type. Furthermore, comparable perceptibility and acceptability thresholds were generally not statistically significant from each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1254-1258
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant (R15 EY013527) from the National Eye Institute and by a grant (K23 DE016890) from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.


  • acceptability
  • dental prostheses
  • perceptibility
  • tooth color


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing tooth color differences in digital facial portraits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this