Purpose: To evaluate the minimum ceramic thickness needed to increase the lightness by one value by means of glass-ceramic restorations, as perceived by dental technicians, dentists, and laypersons.
Materials and Methods: A total of 15 assessment pairs (= reference and test sample) were formed using glass-ceramic blocks in four different colors. Each assessment pair was comprised of two underground blocks differing by one value of lightness. On top of the underground blocks, glass-ceramic platelets were cemented in 5 different thicknesses (0.1 to 0.5 mm) in the same color as the reference. Dental technicians, dentists, and laypersons (n = 41/group) were asked to determine the presence of a color difference between the two samples under standardized light conditions. The threshold ceramic thickness was defined as the thickness at which ≥ 50% of the evaluators were not able to perceive a difference within an assessment pair. The thresholds were analyzed, and groups were compared by applying chi-square test (P < .05).
Results: The majority of dentists and dental technicians (> 50%) detected a lightness difference between test and reference samples up to a ceramic thickness of 0.5 mm. The majority of laypersons (≥ 50%) did not perceive lightness differences with ceramic thicknesses of 0.5 mm. If separated by the different color changes, the threshold ceramic thickness started at 0.4 mm and varied within the groups of evaluators and the lightness of the assessed color.
Conclusions: A considerable number of evaluators perceived a lightness difference when minimally invasive ceramic restorations of 0.5-mm thickness were applied. The threshold ceramic thickness, however, was reduced when the lightness of the substrate was lower.