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Tooth Shade Guide

We are all made unique and so too are our teeth in shape and shade. When whitening teeth and sculpting dental restorations clinicians use dental shade guides to ensure a perfect choice of colour for the patient.

Tooth shade is important for individual presentation and first impressions because our teeth are visible when we smile. White polished teeth look fresh and clean, while stained and discoloured teeth can appear unsightly. Dentists strive to provide patients with dentistry options to improve their health and smiles.

Tooth shade guides have evolved since the early 1980s. Presently, the BL1 and BL2 shades for porcelain veneers appear more popular than earlier B1 shades, particularly with the introduction of modern CEREC technologies.

The Vita Classical Teeth Shade Guide

The colour of people's teeth results from genetic make-up, the environment and lifestyle. This is why dentists use tooth shade reference tools for teeth whitening and cosmetic dental restorations, such as dental crowns, bridges and veneers. Patients select preferred teeth whitening results from the Vita Shade Guide and dentists can show patients before and after images of what they may expect in tooth shade change.

The Vita Enamel Shade B1 is guaranteed to provide the whitest teeth regardless of original tooth colour. The Vita Shade Guide categorises original tooth shade into four main shades with a range of sixteen tones:

  • A for reddish brown tooth colour
  • B for reddish yellow tooth colour
  • C for grey tooth shades
  • D for reddish grey tooth shades

Individuals may have one or more of these tooth shades present or can fall within a particular tooth range. For example, tones within the A shade may include A1, A2, A3, and A4. The guide includes transition shades for easy identification of tooth colour tone that matches individual tooth shades. Identifying the tooth shade from the Vita Shade Guide helps individuals choose the teeth whitening shade they desire.

When matching tooth colour for teeth whitening, dentists compare shades from lightest to darkest and they may alter the order for the purpose of teeth restorations. The beauty is that teeth whitening results can be monitored and evaluated according to this tooth shade reference tool, allowing for further whitening to achieve the desired shade.

Internationally, dentists use the Vita Classical tooth shade guide as a reference for identifying original tooth shade and progressive tooth shade as whitening results take effect. The guide is often included in home teeth whitening kits and those provided under dentist supervision.

The Demand for Whiter Tooth Shades

For varying reasons people may have had teeth restorations; to restore damaged teeth, dental veneers for white straight teeth and crowns or bridges to replace missing teeth. These restorations appear in contrasting shades to existing tooth colour and individuals request whiter teeth shades that communicate youth and vitality.

To meet this demand dentists have transitioned bleaching shades to BL categories for use as a measure of teeth whiteness. Shades BL1, BL2, BL3 and BL4 are now commonly referred to within dentistry to identify whiter teeth shades.

Individuality and Teeth Whitening Results

Individuals differ in their original tooth shades and in teeth whitening shades of preference. While some are happy to experience gradual teeth whitening through use of home whitening kits, whitening toothpastes and whitening gels, others prefer in-clinic power teeth whitening with light activation for immediate teeth whitening results.

Although the Vita B1 shade is guaranteed teeth whitening procedures, products and dental conditions differ and impact teeth whitening outcomes. Individuals choose teeth whitening shades to brighten their smiles and enhance attractiveness.

Whitening the Teeth Smile Zone or More

A decision faced by many individuals concerned about their tooth colour and appearance is whether or not to have only the teeth whitened that are located within the smile zone, or if all teeth should match their chosen tooth shade.

Dentists provide individuals with before and after digital representations of what they can expect from teeth whitening and dental restorations. Some individuals opt to only have matched teeth whitening for teeth located in the smile zone, while others may feel bothered by the difference and want to have more of a match.

The type of dental restoration can differ and individuals may want their natural teeth to match their replaced teeth or veneers. Clinicians provide individuals with options so they can best meet their needs.

Non-matching tooth tone may distract when engaging with others and become a focal point. By having teeth whitened to match tooth colour, the distraction is removed and individuals feel greater confidence.

The choice in the amount of teeth to whiten or sculpt with veneers may depend on affordability. Costs for veneers and porcelain crowns increase with the number of teeth included in treatment. Therefore, some individuals opt only to have veneers or crowns for teeth within their smile zone. Others may opt for dental financing to have more teeth included.

The same applies to dental crowns made of porcelain. While certain people choose to only have their upper teeth restored, others feel better about having teeth on both the upper and lower arch restored.

Baker Street

Dental Clinic

Dr Watson Chambers 102 Baker Street London, W1U 6FY

020 8563 8063

Liverpool Street

Dental Clinic

9 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LP

0207 247 7151

Earls Court

Dental Clinic

221 - 225 Old Brompton Rd, Earls Court, Kensington London SW5 0EA

020 7370 0055

Kings Cross

LDN Dental

34 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DT

0207 278 6362