Prof. Angelo Putignano, Style Italiano and OptiShade

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Interview: Style Italiano has developed a digital device for choosing colour


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Prof. Angelo Putignano, who is one of the founders of Style Italiano, has a private practice specialising in restorative dentistry in Ancona in Italy. He lectures internationally on adhesive and aesthetic restorations. (Image: Angelo Putignano)

Style Italiano is an international community of passionate clinicians and researchers specialised in aesthetic and restorative dentistry. It was founded in the early 2000s, originating from an idea of two friends, Dr Walter Devoto and Prof. Angelo Putignano. The two dentists had observed that materials available for direct restorations lacked adequate concepts for their use. The two friends decided to develop simplified techniques that would allow any dentist to achieve impressive results with direct composite materials. All the concepts of Style Italiano have three things in common, summarised in its motto “Feasible, teachable and repeatable”.

Prof. Putignano, Style Italiano is famous worldwide. What is the key to its success?
The most important factor contributing to the success of the group has always been a precise education method that involves teaching elements that can be repeated by students the day after the course. We strive to see what works and what does not work in the hands of our attendees. Specifically, we teach them which restoration to choose and how to achieve the perfect colour and shape. Education is vital for obtaining successful results.

In following your educational method and in your personal experience, what problems have you experienced regarding colour?
Probably the greatest problem we have experienced relates to managing thickness to give the restoration a natural aspect by providing the correct opacity and the perfect base for an amazing shape. That is the reason for our major focus on layer thickness in our first courses.

As I stated, both colour and shape are equally important. A good shape will help hide small colour defects and vice versa—a good colour will help a small defect in the shape go unnoticed. Therefore, it is important to focus on colour.

When did you start studying colour?
We started studying colour from the foundation of the group. Our beginning was an amazing experience because all the members brought their own experience from many years of practice, together with very fresh and clever ideas. Our first instruments were specifically designed for colour matching (My Shade Guide, Smile Line) and thickness management (LM Misura, an instrument unique in its class).

These visual methods work correctly but they present two problems. Firstly, they require a considerable amount of work, and secondly, our eyes can unfortunately be easily fooled.

What solution do you propose?
The solution is to go digital, and in doing so, make our lives less complicated. This means the clinician’s eye only has to make the final judgement.

We were able to do this successfully with OptiShade, which is a colour device that can be used by everyone, every day.

Normally, when we talk about colour, things tend to become complicated; however, with OptiShade we can now talk about simplicity in the area of colour as well. In the process of inventing OptiShade, I imagined it would be incredibly difficult to create a simple and user-friendly device, but our team succeeded.

“Perception in dentistry is incredibly complex to define, but we can say that it is the aspect of the final restoration, cemented in the mouth, positively judged by our eyes and those of the patient”

What is your opinion about giving the responsibility of the colour result to the technician?
The responsibility cannot lie in the hands of one person. In the last couple of years, the colour has not been decided by the technician, rather by members of our team, either the clinician or the assistant, and with OptiShade, we are able to bypass subjectivity in the way in which our eyes see something.

The full team can only be successful if it has a target in sight. If we are able measure colour repeatability, we can reproduce it.

Thanks to the versatility of OptiShade, we can finally help the technician to obtain the perfect colour and the clinician to deliver perfect results.

What does perception mean to you?
Perception in dentistry is incredibly complex to define, but we can say that it is the aspect of the final restoration, cemented in the mouth, positively judged by our eyes and those of the patient. That concept will never change. What counts is a beautiful aesthetic result in the mouth, and digital technology is here to make this happen—in an easier, faster and more predictable way.

A digital colorimeter needs to be able to tell its user the colour in a way that can be understood!

Is the digital colorimeter difficult to use?
No, it is very intuitive. It is possible to start using it straight out of the box. The colorimeter will immediately tell you the shade, and you can select any shade guide from our wide database. It will tell you, of course, the colour coordinates for the software that is able to give you the colour for the restorations.

For optimising the measurements like a professional, it takes less than 10 minutes of training, and anyone in the clinic can use it. We can send the technician the measurements by email or WhatsApp, in matter of seconds.

OptiShade is here to stay, increasing the quality and reliability of our work. Digital colour is the future.

Editorial note:

Prof. Angelo Putignano is currently head of the department of restorative dentistry and endodontics and dean of the school of dentistry at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona in Italy. He is a founding member of the Italian Academy of Esthetic Dentistry (IAED) and an active member of the European Academy of Esthetic Dentistry (EAED)


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