What Is The Right Shade of White?

What Is The Right Shade of White?

The question “What is the right shade of white for my teeth?” has been asked time and time again. Technically there is no “right” shade of white; however, a good rule of thumb is to try to achieve a shade of white that matches the whites of your eyes. It really all depends on how white you want your teeth to be. Some people want their teeth to be a soft, natural shade of white, while others want that striking Hollywood white.An initial whitening consultation with your dentist is the perfect time to discuss what shade you’d like to achieve and to talk about how to get it. The level of whitening your teeth can obtain will vary based on several factors such as the existing shade of the teeth, genetics, diet, etc. Plus each person has a point where they won’t whiten any further, meaning that it’s impossible for everyone’s teeth reach the same shade of whiteness—regardless of the whitening material used. And each person will whiten at a different rate: some will whiten faster than others, while others may take extended time. 1

Once you and your dentist have determined your starting shade and your desired end shade, your dentist can help you choose a professional whitening treatment that best fits your needs and lifestyle. No matter which professional whitening treatment you choose (in-office, custom take-home, or on-the-go prefilled trays) you can achieve the dazzling white smile perfect for you!

Keep Whitening Professional!

With so many whitening products on the market and many of them sold over the counter (OTC), it is important to get educated about whitening and the differences between OTC whitening products and professionally dispensed whitening products. Start the conversation about whitening with your dentist to see which professional whitening option is best for you.

What is the difference between OTC and professional whitening?

There are a variety of OTC whitening products on the market that range from strips to paint-on pens. Some of these products will whiten the teeth somewhat, while others do not make any change to the color of the teeth. Strips and trays may whiten only the front six teeth due to their design and depending on your smile, causing the shade to be uneven. Whitening pens and other paint-on whitening products have been shown to mainly remove extrinsic stains and do not change the color of the teeth. In fact some of these products have been shown to etch the teeth 1 —something you definitely want to leave to your dentist!

With OTC products, you can walk into a store and pick up a whitening product without getting an examination by a dental professional prior to use. This may sound like a great idea, but you should know that by taking the dental professional out of the treatment process, OTC products open the door for misuse.

The ADA and whitening gurus alike prefer professionally administered teeth whitening over OTC whitening. When someone chooses to whiten their smile under the supervision of their dental professional, they receive added benefits that OTC tooth whiteners simply can’t offer:

  • An initial exam prior to whitening to determine any sensitivity and significant stains
  • A review of the different whitening options to determine which whitening approach best fits within your expectations, needs, and budget
  • Whitening treatment(s) that can be completed in the dental office or at home

Professionally administered whitening is the best way to ensure you’ll receive the results you’re looking for.

  1. Haywood VB. The “bottom line” on bleaching 2008. Inside Dentistry. February 2008; 2-4.


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