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My Teeth are Whiter Than My Porcelain Veneers

I’ve always done my best with my smile. When I didn’t have any money, I was diligent to brush and floss regularly and never drank coffee and other drinks which could stain my teeth. Once, my finances were a little better I started whitening my teeth about every two years. Now, I can finally do a full smile makeover. I’m was so excited about this…until they came in. The porcelain veneers are darker than my natural teeth. I don’t understand how and neither does my dentist. He said he gave me the whitest shade available. He didn’t put them on because he could tell I was disappointed. He said he’d do some research and get back with me. I think maybe because he’s been in the industry for decades, he hasn’t kept up very well with the changes. Is it possible to get this to match my teeth or do I just have overly white teeth?

Danae from Texas

Dear Danae,

Beautiful brunette smiling with gorgeous white teeth

Believe it or not, the answer to both your last two questions is yes. While it may be that you have overly white teeth (and many people do these days), you can still have porcelain veneers made white enough to match your natural teeth.

I’m sure your dentist is a lovely family dentist and has always served you well. Your suspicion of him not keeping up with the industry could be right. Or, maybe he keeps up well with the portion of the industry that he focuses on. Cosmetics might not be his thing. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to switch dentists. It means you may have to go to a different one for specific cosmetic work. Though, because he’s willing to go back to the drawing board for you. I can tell both of you exactly what happened.

Teeth Whitening and Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth whitening changed the dental industry in many ways. What many people don’t realize is that while teeth whitening will remove stains, such as you’d get from smoking or pigmented drinks, it also whitens natural tooth structure. Look at this whitening chart below:

Vita tooth shade guide

This is the Vita shade guide that most dentists used to match crowns to the natural color of their patient’s teeth. As you can tell, none of them are the exceptionally white teeth we’ll see today. That’s because natural tooth structure is being whitened beyond the white that was the standard tooth color.

Because of that Vita came up with an extended guide that included shades from cosmetic work. Here that one is below:

Vita tooth shade guide with extended cosmetic shades

As you can see, the shades on the left are significantly whiter. This is what your dentist would need to use to match your natural tooth color. It’s very likely he did the whitest shade available for the non-cosmetic tooth shading.

If you liked how the porcelain veneers looked with the exception of the color, give him another shot. You may want to share this information with him. It sounds like he cares. Many inexperienced cosmetic dentists will just try to convince you that it’s beautiful or make it sound like you’re being unreasonable. He’s already got the most important characteristic of a good cosmetic dentist. He cares about how his patients feel about their smile.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.