When you decide to lighten up your teeth and remove stains you may want your teeth as white as possible, but did you know that there's such a thing as too white? Our Surrey dentists discuss professional tooth whitening and how a shade guide can help you decide how bright to go.
Tooth Whitening To Brighten Your Smile
Just like everything else our teeth also change over time, especially when it comes to how bright they are. Over time our teeth may develop stains and get darker due to general wear and tear or lifestyle factors including certain medications or the regular consumption of things like tobacco or dark-coloured beverages such as soda, coffee, or red wine.
Luckily, a few tried and true professional tooth whitening options can give you lasting results. Below we explain a little more about how a tooth-whitening shade guide can be used to help pick the optimal colour for your smile.
What To Expect At Your First Visit
To begin the tooth whitening process, your dentist will assess the shade of your smile using a shade guide.
Your dentist will compare your current tooth colour to the shade guide and then work from there to determine what shade you'd like your teeth to be after treatment. Here are some things you should think about when trying to decide on your tooth-whitening goals:
- Existing stains on your teeth - Darkly coloured or grey can be hard to remove. Whitening may make these stains seem more prominent.
- Crowns and fillings - Aritifical restoration of any kind will not respond to whitening treatment. You will want to select a shade that will help these restorations blend in.
- Your eyes - Your teeth should be a similar shade of white to the whites of your eyes. This helps you maintain a natural-looking smile.
Typically your dentists will recommend a tooth shade that still holds a natural appearance for you. Most teeth whitening procedures can make your teeth anywhere from two to seven or eight shades lighter—but often just two or three shades can make a huge difference in your smile.
As with most things, it is better to take things slowly when whitening your teeth. The plus side is that if you decide later on that you would like your teeth to be whiter you will be able to go back for more.
Is There More Than One Tooth Whitening Option?
If you opt for a take-home teeth whitening option the active ingredient in the whitening solutions is usually hydrogen peroxide. The whitening effect occurs as oxygen acts on the tooth enamel and the active ingredient breaks down. Typically dental offices will offer both in-office professional teeth whitening treatments or a take-home package that will allow you to do the teeth whitening at your convenience.
Tooth Whitening At Your Dental Office
In-office teeth whitening is done at your dental office. In-office treatments are typically the most efficient and effective because your dentist can safely apply a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide than you would be able to at home.
Your dentist will begin by placing a shield on your gums to protect them from the whitening solution. Next, they will use a custom mouthguard-like tray to apply the solution to your teeth. Once the solution is on your teeth, your dentist will use a special light to help the process along.
Take Home Tooth Whitening Trays
Many dental offices also offer take-home kits and detailed instructions to safely complete teeth whitening while in your home.
Take-home kits feature custom whitening trays which will be used to hold the whitening solution on your teeth. These trays are typically worn for some time each day for two weeks.