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Choosing a color for your new smile

February 19, 2018 ,

by Dr. Olitsky

From years of experience placing hundreds and hundreds of porcelain veneers on teeth, the color of the new teeth is usually the most important decision a patient will make for their new smile.   How do doctors and patients choose the color of the new smile and what is the basis for the color decisions?

Typically during consultations, we discus the new color of their smile.  I am listening intently to understand what color the patient is describing to me.  Are they saying they want to make sure they are “really white and are less concerned about the color looking unnatural”, or are they saying they want them “white but natural looking”?  The final color of the veneers will be influenced by several factors.  The color of the skin or complexion of the patient, the hair color, the color of the whites of the eyes, the color of the natural tooth under the veneer and the make-up a patient wears all influence the final color.  The same color porcelain can be used on a patient with different factors than another patient and the color will be perceived to be lighter or darker by the viewer depending on these factors.

Our patients rarely if ever see a “Shade guide”.  A shade guide is a instrument used by dentists to assist in matching shades of natural teeth to dental restorations.  They are also used to track color changes for whitening procedures and for detailing shade instructions for the new smile for smile makeovers.  Since patients are not familiar with seeing shade guides and the resultant colors of the dental restorations chosen from the shade guides, they have very little value for helping them make final decisions on colors.  Our recommendation is to discuss your anticipation for the color of your new smile and have the dentist show you pictures of other patients to compare their results with your anticipated results, then let the dentist control the color.

The best way to choose a final color is to have a set of temporary veneers made that are very similar in shape and color to the final porcelain veneers.  That way it enables a test drive of the final color.  A patient will normally find that they get used to a color, or would want to make a change that the color be either a little whiter or a little darker.  Working with known colors for temporary veneers makes communication with the laboratory technicians easier, as well as meeting patients expectations so there are no surprises.

Work with Smile Stylist and dental technicians that have years of experience in smile makeovers and porcelain veneer treatments to achieve the most predictable outcomes.