If you’ve ever thought about having a teeth whitening procedure done, you’re not alone. It’s the most common cosmetic dental procedure performed by dentists. Even the popularity of over-the-counter lightening options is on the rise, with people spending $1.4 billion a year on these products. Clearly, the trend of transforming yellow teeth into sparkling white teeth is not just a passing fad. However, just how white should you go when bleaching your teeth?
First, it’s important to understand how teeth shades work. The color of your teeth is comprised of three different values – hue, chroma, and value. Hue is the existing tone of the teeth and can usually be separated into gray, yellow, reddish gray, or brown groupings. Chroma measures the intensity of the hue, while the value is the amount of black or white in a tooth. Data from the American Dental Association suggests that the people who see the most success with teeth whitening are those who have a yellowish hue. Unfortunately, those with a gray hue have the least success with bleaching.
Before beginning the whitening process, you have to identify where your teeth fall on a shade guide. These different possible tooth colors are sorted by hue, chroma, and value to help you find an exact match. While you may be tempted to automatically try and bleach your teeth to the brightest tone in the shade guide, resist the urge. Most people are physically unable to bleach their teeth more than nine shades whiter – and even then, this may take several treatment cycles. For most people, simply brightening up their smile by two to three shades creates a drastic improvement.
However, you don’t have to follow a shade guide if it’s too stressful. Martin Zase, who is the president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, recommends that people should try to obtain a tooth color that matches the whites of their eyes. This creates a natural look that doesn’t throw off the balance of your face. Additionally, it’s important to consider your age and gender. Obviously, as people get older, their teeth naturally darken. Therefore, it might be strange to see a middle-aged person with a pure white smile.
While your teeth won’t fall out if you bleach them too much, that still doesn’t mean you should do it too frequently. Overbleachers often have an increased likelihood of decay. Additionally, overbleaching can cause annoying side effects, like temporary tooth sensitivity and pain. You’ll know when it’s time to stop bleaching when your teeth become bluish-white, as this means they have reached their maximum potential.
Overall, teeth whitening can produce great results for most people that help them improve their appearance and self-esteem. If you’re ready to take the plunge and begin your whitening journey, just schedule an appointment for a whitening consultation.
We’ll be able to discuss your options and help you determine the lightest your teeth can look.