A white smile, or, a bright smile?

Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 9:31 pm

One topic of debate that is frequently brought up is: How white is too white? When selecting denture teeth, many people are unsure as to what shade to select. All they know is that they want a white smile. I was among those who wanted that beaming white smile.

My experience with bleach white teeth.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had stained teeth. I am sure sodas had a lot to do with that. I never had a smile that made me feel confident and always envied those with brilliant, dazzling smiles. So when it came time to select the teeth for my dentures and, subsequently, my first set of hybrid dentures, I went all out. I wanted a show-stopping, celebrity status smile that others could admire. I thought I finally had the chance to have the smile I always dreamed of and, in a way, I did. I selected the shade PW-4, which is the second to whitest shade you could go in the Portrait White collection of Trubyte teeth. I was very happy with my decision and I wouldn’t say I really regretted it, per se, I just noticed something that I hadn’t anticipated. Everywhere I went, people stared at my teeth. They really did stand out, just like I thought I wanted. Strangers at the grocery store, the mall, the playground, even the gas station, would approach me and ask how I was able to get my teeth so white. What sort of products was I using? This opened an opportunity for dialogue about my denture journey, which, I’m usually eager to share. The thing is, I began to realize that, not only was my smile my most prominent feature, but I began to feel as though it detracted from the rest of me. During conversations, I could see people’s eyes fixated on my teeth. This was what happened when I had horrible teeth. I noticed people’s gazes lingering on my mouth and it gave me all kinds of anxiety. And while they fixated on my smile for very different reasons, now, it still made me a little uneasy.

I realized that this new attention was something that I actually didn’t want. I still felt like I stood out. I no longer wanted a smile that stood out, I wanted a smile that blended in. I wanted something that complemented the other features on my face. I wanted a nice smile— a bright smile; not a white smile.

Natural teeth are not white.

White is the absence of color. It’s flat and uniform, which is the complete opposite of how natural teeth are, even those bright smiles that we all envy. Natural teeth have depth to them. The color is more layered and gradient. They have texture to them and reflect light a little different than your standard denture tooth. And while we can’t always properly communicate what is off about a flat, white tooth, our brains definitely interpret that something is a little different. That’s what makes them stand out. That’s probably why I got so many questions about my tooth color. People probably realized that this is not natural and they wanted to know what I was using to make them so white.

Natural teeth are bright.

I kept all of this in mind when I was selecting my new Phonares teeth. I still wanted a dazzling smile but, after scouring the internet for information and looking at several photos of ideal smiles, I determined that I wanted a bright smile, not a white smile. One way to determine the shade that will best suit you and complement the rest of your face is to look at the whites of your eyes. Generally, you should stay within a shade or two of the color of the whites of your eyes. This way, it will blend better, overall, rather than add too much contrast. For instance, imagine two sheets of white paper. One sheet is 20 years old and the other is fresh out of the package. If you were to put those papers side by side, you would see the contrast between the two. Your eyes will most likely be drawn more to the new paper because that’s what stands out.

Of course, this is your smile and you should pick a shade that you love. The problem is, many people, myself included, don’t know how to communicate what they want. And many of us realize after making the selection that this is not exactly what we were going for. In fact, a lot of people actually don’t like all of that extra attention.

I ended up choosing the B2 shade, which is the second brightest shade available in the Phonares line. The thing is, the Phonares teeth are made differently than my previous teeth. Due to the ceramic fillers in the teeth, they refract light much like a natural tooth would. There is depth to them, even a slight translucency on the tips of the teeth, which is how natural teeth are. Because of the quality, I can get away with a brighter smile, without it looking flat and lifeless.

Take advantage of the wax try-in!

It’s really difficult to tell if a shade will suit you well without seeing it in your mouth. Just holding a card of teeth won’t exactly do it. Because of this, many people pass up shades that would look great on them and jump right to the brightest of the white out of fear of selecting something too dull. You have to keep in mind, however, that the same shade of teeth sometimes looks completely different on different people. For one, it may look dull but for another, dazzling. Different features on a person’s face come into play, here, considering we all have different shades of gums, lips, skin tone, eye color, hair color. So what works for one person might not always work for another. I would recommend starting with a tooth that closely matches the shade of the whites of your eyes. If you decide during the try-in that you want something a little brighter, you can go from there. But don’t dismiss all of the other shades and jump straight into the whitest of the white.

My before and after.

I was a little nervous that my teeth may not be as bright as I wanted but when I did a side by side comparison of my previous, blindingly white hybrids, and my new Phonares teeth, I was so happy with my decision to tone it down a little.



As you can see, both smiles are bright but the teeth in the before shot are very flat and lifeless, while the teeth in the after shot are softer and more natural. I still get tons of compliments about my smile but it’s more about my smile, overall, as opposed to people asking how I got them so white.

I hope this helps you in deciding what shade is best for you. You may even find that the whitest shade is the one which suits you best but, hopefully, now you know it is because of your own, unique features, and not just the fact that they are the whitest teeth available.

Share your tips!

How did you determine the best shade for you? Share your experience in the comments, below!

This post is sponsored by Ivoclar Vivadent. For more information on Ivoclar Vivadent denture products, visit www.morethanadenture.com.

6 thoughts on “A white smile, or, a bright smile?

  1. I wear upper dentures, and I’m consistently told that I have a beautiful smile. I have friends and family members in the dental field who have complimented my smile and do not realize I wear a full denture. I may tell certain people that I have a crown bridge or implants which is what I used to have rather than admitting I have an acrylic appliance in my mouth that sits in a glass on the sink overnight.

    I used to make jokes when people complimented my smile like telling them I have so much bridge work in my mouth that I charge a toll if they want to kiss me.

    But I don’t feel self-conscious anymore. People use all sorts of techniques to enhance their appearance or feel better about themselves. Whether it’s wearing color change contacts, a hairpiece, fake nails or lashes, some type of makeup, or going the surgical route with face lifts or breast implants— there are a lot of people making cosmetic changes.

  2. Tks Kristi,
    I’m going on 8/23/18 to get the G4 in Vegas and have been searching the net for what shade options are available. I was attracted to the whitest unbleached one B1 or A1 but after looking at and reading 100s of sites and pics I’m lost. I was thinking about toning it down a little maybe a A2 or B2. I like the tip of matching close to the color of your eyes.

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