When you embark on your teeth-whitening journey, your dentist will use a teeth-whitening shade guide to help you pick the right shade for your smile. Here, our Surrey dentists explain how this guide is used in treatment planning.
As we age our teeth can get darker. This can be due to general wear and tear or lifestyle factors including certain medications or the regular consumption of tobacco or dark-coloured beverages such as soda, coffee, or red wine.
Our professional teeth whitening services may be right for you if you're considering whitening your 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.
Teeth Whitening Shade Assessment
To begin the teeth whitening process, your dentist will assess the shade of your smile using a shade guide.
This is done by matching your current tooth colour to the shade guide and then working from there to determine what shade you'd like your teeth to be after treatment. Here are a few considerations about picking your desired shade:
- Existing stains on your teeth - Stains that are 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 to 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.
Remember, it is always easier to go whiter later on if you're not satisfied with the shade of your teeth.
How Teeth Whitening Works
The active ingredient in whitening solutions is usually hydrogen peroxide. The whitening effect takes place as oxygen acts on the tooth enamel and the active ingredient breaks down. Most dental offices offer in-office treatment as well as take-home treatment.
In-Office 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.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening
Many dental offices also offer take-home kits that allow you to professionally whiten your teeth from the comfort of 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.