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How Do I Choose the Right Shade of White for my Teeth?

see many people - especialy on tv, that get to much whitening for teeth.  smiles look as if would glow in dark. what should i get in tooth shade from teeth whitening that looks natural?

Doctor Answers (14)

One common line of thought is not to make you teeth...

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  • One common line of thought is not to make you teeth whiter than the whites of your eyes.
  • More importantly is for the patient and the dentist to communicate as to what the patient’s expectations are and then letting the dentist help guide the patient as to what is appropriate for that patient’s age and gender.
  • There is no “right” shade of white. But it is important for the patient and the dentist to agree before treatment is started as to what is the final goal as far as color is concerned.


Denver Cosmetic Dentist

TV and celebrities have made the super white look very...

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TV and celebrities have made the super white look very much in demand. I think, though, that for most people this is much too white. Your dentist has shade guides that can show you the best color for you.

It is important to also consider the type of stains on your teeth. Dark or grey stains are harder to whiten and special care must be taken. Yellow or brown stains are easier to whiten and bring to a brighter shade. White spots are often caused by taking in too much fluoride; we can blend in these spots through teeth whitening but we need to monitor the whitening process.

Keep in mind that crowns (caps), veneers, bridges and fillings do not whiten. If you have these, especially in the “smile zone”, on the teeth people see when you smile, you need to work with your dentist to make sure you approach whitening the right way. A restoration that blends in today will stay the same color when you whiten the rest of your teeth and will stick out as discolored after bleaching.

Gerry Curatola, DDS
Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

As with all light-accelerated whitening systems, you...

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As with all light-accelerated whitening systems, you cannot pinpoint the exact color that you want to achieve out of the treatment.

Everyone’s teeth whiten differently, depending on your diet, your oral health, and the types of stains that you are trying to whiten. It is impossible to end up with glow-in-the-dark teeth like Ross on Friend’s because everyone has a threshold color that they will eventually reach and cannot go beyond. This will be your natural tooth color without any stains.

To get the unnaturally white tooth colors, you’ll need to explore other, more invasive options, such as veneers or implants. Personally, I like the idea of whitening better because you get to show off your natural teeth looking their very best. If your teeth are healthy, then you’ll have amazing results from the WhiteSpa treatment and will be extremely happy and satisfied with the natural, refreshed look that a whiter smile can lend to your appearance.

It is important to establish realistic expectations from the treatment. Some clients may not be able to ever achieve their idealized “Hollywood white” color because of their individual oral health situation and the diet they ate as a child. Developing an appropriate, individualized whitening plan for each individual client is an important aspect of the Beyond WhiteSpa treatment and we offer online training on how to do this.

Jenny Shen, DDS
Bay Area Cosmetic Dentist

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Light but real is best. Never whiter than the whites of...

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Light but real is best. Never whiter than the whites of the eyes.

Jeffrey Golub-Evans, DDS
New York Cosmetic Dentist

How white should you go?

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This is such a personal preference.  Most teeth will only get "so white" anyway with just bleaching.  For those with stubbornly stained teeth, porcelain veneers can make your teeth whiter than you can achieve with bleaching.  In general, I've been seeing people move away from "super white" teeth to a more natural, yet still bright and beautiful color.  You can go light without them looking too fake as long as they are not too opaque, meaning that the color is flat looking and monochromatic (all one color).  Natural translucency and gradation of color from gum to tooth edge can make even the lightest teeth look natural and beautiful.

Gerilyn Alfe, DMD
Chicago Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Opinions of white and not white enough vary from person...

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Opinions of white and not white enough vary from person to person, as does the effectiveness of bleaching products. Some people simply don't get much change in color from bleaching.

When I have done smile makeovers for models or pageant contestants, it almost seems as if there is no such thing as too white. With the bright lights shining and camera lenses doing what they do, the smiles that look natural in daily life don't look as nice.

Usually, this level of white cannot be achieved by bleaching products and are actually porcelain veneers. All whitening of natural teeth is temporary, so if a result was too white, if given enough time the smile would rebound to something more normal. Having said that, I have never bleached a smile and had someone complain that it was too white.

If you are a person that is modeling or on a stage of any kind, very white teeth may be good for you. MOST people are not, so a less white, softer coloring would be more natural. For some people, the bright, unnatural look is what they want.

A lot of the natural appearance of veneers is from the dentist using a talented lab. Natural teeth are more than one color, a blend of yellows and whites. Even veneers that are unnaturally white, when blended by a talented ceramist, can look very natural. When you see a monochromatic chicklet smile, you can bet that it was not done by a highly skilled ceramist.

Lance Timmerman, DMD
Seattle Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

The shade of white is all based on personal preference....

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The shade of white is all based on personal preference. Some people want the Hollywood look. Others want their teeth to look white but natural.

Jimmy C. Wu, DDS
San Diego Cosmetic Dentist

How White Should I Bleach My Teeth?

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Honestly, there is no right or wrong answer with regards to how white your bleach your teeth.  More importantly, how white do you want them?

How much of your teeth show when you smile?  What color is your skin?  If a female, do you wear lipstick, and if so, how dark or light?

The good news with tray bleaching is that progresses slowly, usually getting your teeth a little whiter each time you do it.  And then after you are done you might see a slight loss in the whiteness over a two week period where the color of the teeth bleaching is being normalized.

So, my suggestion is keep bleaching until you think your teeth a just slightly whiter than you like, and then stop the bleaching for two weeks.  If after the two weeks, you change your mind and still want them whiter, than add another week of bleaching.

There are some older concepts than dentists used to use before cosmetic dentistry became so popular.  The theory that the teeth should match the eyes no longer holds much weight with cosmetic dentists.  The sclera (white part of the eye) gets darker with age and nowadays, most people want to look younger.  The second theory that has fallen into much disfavor, especially among the lay public, is that if your are having crowns, veneers or bonding, the older you are, the darker the dentist makes the restorations.  Again, almost universally patients want younger (whiter) looking teeth!

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Cosmetic Dentist

Keep it natural.

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The best look will be the one that looks most natural.  Take your age and skin tone into consideration.  The general rule of thumb is that teeth should not be whiter than the whites of your eyes.  Remember that the goal of esthetic dentistry is to mimic nature.  Best- Dr. Elizabeth Jahanian.

Elizabeth Jahanian, DDS
Corona Cosmetic Dentist

Hollywood smiles are white

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with the advent of teeth bleaching there is a new shade of white.   we recommend that all cosmetic cases undergo both laser bleaching and take home tray bleaching systems prior to final shade analysis.   we recommend that the patient meets with our master ceramist to determine final shade and characterization.  this will give you a better understand of color and what works with your skin tones ect.

Richard Sprague, DDS
Los Angeles Cosmetic Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.