Teeth Whitening | How to determine which shade of white is right for you!
The number one requested service in most dental offices is tooth whitening. Perhaps this is driven by the fact that wherever we look, be it the movies or magazines, we see models and movie stars with whiter than white teeth. Whether they are young … or in their mature years … oftentimes their smile is not only the first thing you see, but sometimes it’s the main thing you see. Why? With today’s over-the-counter products and the advanced technology and skilled ceramists, dentists are able to offer designer smiles.
But, actors and models may have goals that are different from yours. As the patient, it’s important to communicate your preferences. Before you decide whether a Hollywood neon smile is what you want, take some time to think and discuss options with your dentist. Answer the question – What’s right for me? Then talk with Drs. Hochberg and Diora as to determine the best way to meet those expectations.
Of course, we all agree that an attractive smile boosts self-confidence. We want to smile proudly, without embarrassment, and share our good feelings with others. If you are displeased with the esthetics of your smile, the first step is to identify what it is that you don’t like. Is it discoloration?
Coffee, tea, wine, and many foods can contribute to surface discoloration. Or yellowing and darkening can occur from smoking. Maybe your home health dental hygiene regime is a bit underwhelming. Remember that the outer portion of the tooth, the enamel, can be damaged or thinned due to many factors, revealing the yellower dentin, which is underneath this layer.
If tooth color is the only concern, after a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist and once any areas of active decay are treated, in-office procedures, such as Zoom! Tooth Whitening, can lighten natural teeth shades whiter. There are also trays that can be fabricated and worn at home as well as over-the-counter products.
However, how many shades whiter these treatment options can take your teeth is dependent on the thickness of the natural tooth’s enamel and the darkness of the dentin that is showing through. Expectations must be realistic. And excessive use of OTC whitening products can actually cause damage to the teeth – the teeth develop an excessive translucency at the edges and appear to be see through and appear unnatural.
When topical applications will not meet the desired results or modification of the size and shape of the teeth is also indicated, porcelain veneers are often the answer. Many of the Hollywood stars’ smiles are the result of cosmetic dentistry and the fabrication of veneers or dental crowns. They can be any shade that you want.
They can be ‘whiter than white’. Or the shade selected can be more natural. This is a your decision, one that needs to be discussed prior to selecting a shade for your veneers or crowns, as you will be sporting your new smile for quite some time. While it’s tempting to ask for teeth that are as white as possible, before you choose the brightest white, as they say ‘similar to our porcelain toilet’, consider the full picture.
When tooth color becomes excessively white the teeth can actually appear fake – similar to the dentures from years ago that were Chiclet white; they were obviously false teeth. And when teeth are too white, they become the sole focal point of your face, diminishing the rest of your facial features and taking away the warmth that comes from your eyes.
Balancing the decision between an unnaturally white smile and ‘wow’ than can comes from a bright, white smile that is a bit more natural will let your personality shine through. For years, the typical rule of thumb was that your teeth should approximate the shade of white in your eyes. Of course, tooth shade is not the only factor that contributes to a natural smile. The size, shaping, and translucency of the veneers and crowns help to make your smile unique to you. A combination of the artistic skills of your dentist and the ceramist are the tools to create a smile designed just for you.
The wonderful news is that with in-office or at-home whitening or with porcelain veneers and ceramic crowns, we at Colony Square Dental Associates can work with you to evaluate the numerous treatment options available. Today’s cosmetic dentistry and tooth whitening products enhance the smiles of countless patients. Just remember, take the time to discuss with your dentist your specific expectations and goals and answer this question for yourself, “How white is white enough”? We are here to help you look your fantastic best!
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