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Teeth Whitening: How White is Too White?

When it comes to teeth whitening, it's all too easy to go overboard in the pursuit of a sparkling, bright white smile! Our Edmonton dentists offer some tips on how to whiten your teeth without going overboard.

Teeth whitening is a great way to alter the appearance of your teeth. It’s non-invasive, quick, and easy to maintain with the occasional touch-up at home or at your dentist’s office.

However, it can also be overdone, resulting in teeth that look artificially white and unnatural.

Many patients simply aren’t sure when they should stop whitening. They want their teeth to look whiter but have a hard time identifying the right shade of white to aim for.

How can I tell when to stop?

To help our patients decide how white they should go, our Edmonton dentists recommend that they stick to the shade they initially settled on at the outset of treatment. Your dentist will have a shade chart at the office that can help guide your whitening treatment process.

If you’re at home and trying to decide if you’re finished whitening or not, a good rule of thumb is that your teeth should be no whiter than the whites of your eyes. This is a good shade to aim for, as you can be sure it will look natural on you.

Another general rule of thumb is to use your skin tone and complexion. If your skin is on the lighter side then you can go with a whiter shade for your teeth, because your teeth will blend in a little more with the rest of your face without looking out of place or garish.

If you have a darker complexion, we recommend avoiding the very white end of the spectrum. This is because the goal of having your teeth whitened is for the end result to look natural – as if they haven't been whitened at all. If you go too far and your teeth appear unnaturally white, you will attract too much of the wrong kind of attention.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

While there are minimal side effects associated with the teeth whitening process, too much of anything can often have unpleasant results. The same is true for teeth whitening. Here are some side effects associated with the teeth whitening process that can be more prominent with over whitening.

  • Teeth Sensitivity - One of the most frequently reported side effects of teeth whitening is sensitivity. This can happen if the patient has weakened enamel or if the whitening is not done properly. Because the dental professional can apply the bleaching agent in the safest way possible, in-office whitening is the best way to reduce the risk of sensitivity during and after treatment. To reduce the risk of sensitivity, dentists frequently recommend certain treatments prior to whitening. For example, dentists may advise a patient with dental cavities to get fillings before undergoing the whitening procedure.
  • Gum Irritation - Gum irritation can occur if the gums are not properly isolated or if the take-home or store-bought kit is not properly applied. Most patients do not experience any issues with gum irritation, particularly when it is performed in the office and administered by a dental professional. 

If you’re interested in whitening your teeth or need help deciding how white you should go, book an appointment with one of our Edmonton dentists today!

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