I have a simple but VERY important question: my bottom front teeth, after teeth whitening, have settled somewhere between color A1 and A2 on the Vita Shade Guide. My bottom posterior teeth are all A2 (I have Empress porcelain crowns on teeth #18, #19, #20, #29, #30 and #31 and they are all color A2). Here’s my question: how white do you think I could go on my top front ten teeth (veneers) and it still look natural? I want white teeth, but I don’t want it to look unnatural in relation to my bottom teeth. I would really appreciate your expert opinion.
Scott from South Carolina
You can get away with the posterior teeth being a full shade number darker than the anterior teeth, and you can get away with the lower teeth being a full shade number darker than the upper teeth. The reason is that the posterior teeth are in the shadows, and would naturally look darker. And the lower teeth in a normal bite always appear behind the upper teeth, plus they’re a little less prominent, so they will also naturally look darker.
You could probably get your lower teeth a little whiter if you wanted and they would still look fine. But let’s say you leave them at around an A 1 1/2 – halfway between an A-1 and an A-2. You could have the upper teeth maybe half a shade lighter than A-1.
But you worry me a little, in that you don’t feel confident in asking your dentist about this. Or maybe you haven’t selected a cosmetic dentist to do these porcelain veneers for you yet. Either way, be very careful. Very few dentists are true artists who are passionate about appearance-related dentistry. So select your cosmetic dentist with care.
Also remember that after tooth bleaching, your teeth are a little extra-white, and they take a couple of weeks to settle into their final, true shade. When we’re matching the shade of a bleached tooth, we always give the shade a couple of weeks to stabilize.