Teeth whitening shade guide

Teeth whitening seems to be one of the latest trends, as a lot of people are after a spectacular smile nowadays. And we can totally understand why, as whiter teeth are usually associated with increased confidence, not to mention that this can bring a few social benefits! Not once it was revealed that people with a bright smile are considered more attractive, so it’s obvious why everybody wants to obtain it.
The entire whitening process is actually simple to explain, as it consists in a short treatment which lightens or completely removes common stains caused by coffee or tea, red wine, coloured soda, dark vegetables, constant smoking, or even ageing.
To be more specific, the dentist uses an active whitening agency that penetrates the tooth enamel, releasing oxygen, which breaks apart the bonds in the discoloured molecules which are to blame for the stains in your dentin. In some cases, this treatment is combined with light catalyst technology, thus speeding up the process significantly.
Of course, the results of a teeth whitening process can be different, depending on the initial state of your teeth. Dentists have identified four basic shade ranges, as it follows:
• Reddish brown
• Reddish yellow
• Gray
• Reddish Gray
Within each of these ranges, there are different levels of darkness, so if you’re looking forward to finding what is the whitest shade you can get, we have an answer that you might now like: it depends. However, if you want to approximate the outcome of a teeth whitening procedure, the best way to do it is to compare your current tooth colour to the corresponding colour in a chart, available at any dentist.
There are situations in which whitening can change your teeth colour with up to nine shades, but the majority of people who opt for this procedure see a change of between two and seven white shades. Obviously, the final result is highly influenced by the actual method you use.
Besides traditional whitening treatments, performed by a dentist, you can also opt for the so-called ‘over-the-counter’ methods, less costly than professional treatment, but also slower. Some of the most popular are
Whitening toothpaste. Available in a lot of supermarkets and pharmacies, it has a mild abrasive effect and no bleaching components. In most cases, it whitens teeth with one shade.
Whitening stripes. Another popular product, these are thin plastic strips coated with peroxide gel. In order to benefit from their full effect, they need to be work for around 30 minutes daily, for two weeks. Notably more effective than toothpaste, they can whiten your teeth with two or even three shades.
Whitening gel. Available in different versions – it’s the strength and effectiveness that varies – this gel can deliver results similar to those of using whitening strips. However, it can be a bit difficult to get used to it, as your first instinct is to lick the gel off your teeth, so it will take a while until you will learn to leave the gel do its job.
Whitening trays. Basically just plastic trays that hold whitening gel in contact with your teeth and very similar to the ones dentists use. If they fit well, they can produce some stunning results and you will end up with teeth up to four shades whiter. However, it’s essential to pick a tray that fits you perfectly, otherwise, they can cause some serious pain and lose their effectiveness.
Whether you’re after just a slight improvement in terms of teeth whitening or want a complete transformation, you can easily find the proper solution. Our recommendation is, however, to do this just after some proper research.

Tooth colored fillings

For a lot of years, people who needed tooth fillings had pretty much one choice: dental amalgam. Or, if you prefer, silver fillings, which were far from being a very aesthetically pleasing option.

But those are already a thing of the past, as dentists offer now the possibility to have fillings that match the natural color of your teeth, so nobody can actually tell that you have some work done. And it appears that people are delighted with this idea as well!

Also known as composite resins, these fillings provide increased durability, as well as a very high resistance to fracture, as moderate pressure is constantly applied on them while chewing. Because they can make a ‘fixed’ tooth look more natural, they are an excellent choice for both back and front teeth.

Ok, but is it the same material, with the same properties?

Technically speaking, no. Tooth-colored fillings are made using a composition of plastic resins and silica fillers, able to replicate a lot of the qualities possessed by the natural tooth structure, like wear-resistance and translucency.

Compared to “silver”, these fillings are quite different, but they are 100% safe, so you shouldn’t be skeptical if your dentists offers to use something else than what you were expecting.

Say ‘goodbye’ to post-filling sensitivity

Besides the aesthetical advantage, one of the biggest pluses of tooth-colored fillings is the fact that the procedure itself is less complicated, reducing the risk of post-filling sensitivity.

To be more specific, no matter what material is chosen, the filling procedure is similar: the tooth is prepared for it, as the dentist removes all the decay – after anesthesia was applied, of course – and places the material into the tooth.

But this is where the big difference is.

When amalgam filling is used, the doctor shapes the affected tooth by making so-called undercuts, in order to help the material adhere to the tooth. Basically, a bit of healthy tooth material is also removed, which, in time, can lead to a structurally-weakened and very sensitive tooth.

In contrast, when resin-based tooth-colored fillings are used, there’s no need for those undercuts, as the material forms a mechanical bond with the tooth. Obviously, this is a more conservative type of treatment, which leads to a long-lasting intervention and no sensitivity issues. Oh, and in most cases, this entire procedure can be accomplished in just one visit, which is excellent for those with a pathologic fear of dentists.

What are the disadvantages?

Despite their pluses, tooth-colored fillings are not really perfect. First of all, they can be a bit pricey, compared to amalgam fillings, not to mention that, occasionally, they are not covered by specific insurance plans, which is a very important aspect.

Besides this, it was proven that they can sometimes be less durable than traditional fillings, which forces the patient to have them replaced more often. However, in the end, it’s up to you to decide what type of filling suits you. Or, of course, carefully follow a dental hygiene routine, so you don’t need them at all!