Creating perfect direct composite restorations has been for long time a strict challenge due to many materials’ limitations impacting either shade integration or surface quality, and possibly colour stability. Next to technological drawbacks, a certain complexity and lack of predictability in clinical application was inherent to the technique and made it elitist for a long time. Shading and layering concepts then progressively evolved from a simplistic, non histo-anatomical, bilaminar technique to a multi-layering approach (3 to 4 or more layers), following the Vita Classic™ system. One of the most achieved concepts is polychromatic layering which makes use of a variable number of layers (basically VITA™ or non-VITA™ opacious dentin, chromatic enamel and translucent/opalescent enamel), driven by the natural tooth optical composition. In parallel with this evolution, a simplified, non-VITA shading system was developed with a reduced number of layers (basically dentin & enamel layer, plus effect shades if required) known as the natural layering concept, aiming to the same optimal esthetic integration and natural colour reproduction/emulation. The latest improvements appear all driven by the same view of improved reliability and clinical simplification.
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