The white smiles you see on TV might look unnatural in the real world. Depending on your skin tone and other factors, overly white teeth can be a dead giveaway that they’ve been worked on. A few rules of thumb can steer you in the right color direction.
1. Darker skin tones should select naturally occurring tooth shades. The increased level of contrast created by dark skin tones makes the teeth appear bright even without bleaching. “Generally we recommend the lightest natural tooth shade and don’t go to the bleaching shades,” says Sarasota, FL cosmetic dentist Dr. Jenifer Back, DMD.
2. Generally, fairer skin tones should pick from the whitest shades available. Since fair skin doesn’t contrast with the color of teeth very much, you have to go for a lighter shade to make the teeth appear white. This is when the newer bleaching shades of veneers would be most appropriate. “The second whitest shade is the most popular,” Dr. Back says. “Occasionally, we’ll have a client select the whitest shade possible but we try to reserve that for very fair-skinned people so the contrast isn’t noticeable or distracting.”
3. Layer color for a realistic brighter white. Natural teeth have a gradation of colors that are more opaque in the middle of the tooth but almost clear at the biting edge. “People can choose significantly whiter colors and have them look natural if they’re willing to allow characterization, or layering,” Dr. Back says.
4. Look at the whites of the eyes for guidance. “If you choose a color that is whiter than the whites of the eyes, the closest source of white to the teeth, it makes them look unnatural,” Dr. Back says.
Look for more great tips on veneers in the Fall issue of NewBeauty.
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