Sometimes our teeth don't seem as bright as they once were and we want to lighten them up, but how do we know how white to go? Our Delta dentists talk about having your teeth professionally whitened and how to use a tooth-whitening shade guide to help decide how bright to go.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Generally, as we grow older and we have used our body for longer we see changes, one of these changes can be in our teeth. 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.
Thankfully, there are a variety of options for those that are hoping to brighten up their smile. Below we explain a little more about how a teeth whitening shade guide can be used to help pick the optimal colour for your smile.
What Happens at Your Teeth Whitening Consultation
To begin the teeth 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 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.
These are general guidelines that will help you achieve a smile that is brighter but still looks natural. 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. You can always go whiter later on if you choose.
What the Different Options Are For Professional Teeth Whitening
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 own convenience.
In-Office Professional Teeth Whitening
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.
At-Home Profession Teeth Whitening
Many dental offices also offer take-home kits and detailed instructions to safely complete the teeth whitening process while in your own 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 a period of time each day for two weeks.