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Teeth Whitening: How White is Too White?

When it comes to whitening your teeth, it can be easy to go a bit too far in your pursuit of a bright and white smile. Here, our North York dentists offer up some advice and information about how to whiten your teeth without overdoing it.

Whiteing your teeth can be an excellent way of altering the appearance of your smile. It can be quick, non-invasive and relatively easy to maintain with occasional touch0ups at home or in your dentist's office. 

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

Many patients are unsure of when they should stop whitening their smile. They want their teeth to look whiter but have a difficult time identifying the right shade of white to aim for.

How can I tell when to stop?

In order to help our patients decide who white they should make the shade of their teeth, our dentists advise that they stick to the shade they initially decided up at the start of their treatment. Your dentist will be able to show you a shade chart that can help to 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 good rule to follow is to compare your desired shade of white with your skin tone and complexion. If your skin is on the lighter side, you can probably go with a whiter shade for your teeth since your teeth with blend in a bit better with the rest fo your face without looking out of place. 

If you have a darker complexion then we would advise you to avoid the very white end of the spectrum. This is because when you have your teeth whitened the goal is for the end result to look natural – like they haven't been whitened. If you go so far that your teeth look unnaturally white, then you will draw too much of the wrong type of attention.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

While there are minimal side effects associated with teeth whitening, too much of anything can have undesirable effects. The same is true when it comes to teeth whitening. Here are some of the side-effects associated with the teeth whitening process that may become more common with over-whitening your teeth.

  • Teeth Sensitivity - Teeth sensitivity is one of the most commonly reported side effects of teeth whitening. This can occur if the patient has weakened enamel or if the whitening is not properly administered. In-office whitening is the best way to minimize the risk of sensitivity during and after treatment as the dental professional can apply the bleaching agent in the safest way possible. Dentists often recommend certain treatments before whitening to reduce the risk of sensitivity. For example, dentists may recommend a patient with dental cavities receive dental fillings before 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 North York dentists today!

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