A1 Tooth Color: Photo Comparison Guide

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

The A1 tooth color is the lightest “A” shade and the second whitest from the vita shade guide. Despite it being one of the whitest, it is still considered to be a natural shade of white.

Of course what that implies is that it is lighter in color than the average color of teeth.

a1 tooth color
A1 tooth color

What color is A1 tooth shade?

Even though the A1 tooth shade is considered “white”, the hue of it is actually reddish brownish. It’s just that the value or lightness of it is fairly bright.

Below is the manufacturer instructions from VITA showing that the A tooth shades are reddish-brown. No, the A color is NOT reddish-yellow because that describes the B tooth color.

VITA shade guide instructions sheet


  • Color hue – the hue typically refers to the color wheel.
  • Color value – the value refers to how “light” the color is.
Credit: virtual art academy

The diagram above shows you the difference between what the hue is and what the color is.

Yes, A1 is considered a white tooth color but it is technically a very light reddish brown because that’s the natural color of teeth. Teeth aren’t naturally paper white you know.


A1 is technically not white per say since it is more of a red-brown color. However, the value of this shade does make it look quite white.

This shade is certainly not considered yellow because if you naturally have it, no one would think you’ve yellow teeth. The average color for teeth happens to be A2 which is one shade darker than A1.

A1 is not too white since it is only 1-2 shades lighter than the average A2/A3 color.

All of the tooth shades in the VITA classical shade guide are considered to have a natural color. It is only if you whiten your teeth beyond the A1 or B1 shade that it becomes unnatural. These whiter unnatural colors are called the bleach shades.

How it compares to other “A” tooth shades

The color A1 is the lightest color out of the entire family of tooth shades with “A”, from A1 to A4. Below is a photo of the entire A-color line side by side to give you an overview of what these shades look like.

tooth shades a1-a4
Tooth shades A1 through A4

Since we know you love pictures, we’ll provide close up photos comparing each of the colors to A1 individually.

Vs A2

This is what A1 looks like when compared to the average color of A2. Yes, approximately 80-90% of the patients in our dental practice have the color A2. That makes it the most typical color of teeth!

a1 vs a2
A1 vs A2

Vs A3

The color A3 is one shade darker than the average shade of A2. You can consider your teeth to be more “yellow” than average if you’ve A3.

Although studies show that A3 is slightly more common than A2. But, in clinical practice we see A2 more than A3.

a1 vs a3
A1 vs A3

Vs A3.5

The coffee and wine drinkers may end up with tooth shade A3.5 which is pretty dark.

a1 vs a3.5
A1 vs A3.5

Vs A4

We don’t see A4 too often but you’ll probably agree with us that it is quite dark. If you’ve A4 you should highly consult a cosmetic dentist to whiten your teeth.

a1 vs a4
A1 vs A4

This color is two shades darker than what the average color is. If this is the color of your teeth, you’ve yellow teeth. We can’t even lie to you about that!

A1 vs OTHER teeth colors

A1 vs B tooth shades

The B tooth color is more reddish-yellow and comes in B1 to B4.

A1 vs B1

A1 vs b1 tooth color

A1 vs B2

A1 vs B2 tooth color

A1 vs B3

A1 vs B3 tooth color

A1 vs B4

A1 vs B4 tooth color

A1 vs C tooth shades

The C tooth color is more grayish and comes in C1 to C4.

A1 vs C1

A1 vs C1 tooth color

A1 vs C2

A1 vs C2 tooth color

A1 vs C3

A1 vs C3 tooth color

A1 vs C4

A1 vs C4 tooth color

A1 vs D tooth shades

The D tooth color is more reddish-grayish and comes in D2 to D4. There is no D1 shade.

A1 vs D2

A1 vs D2 tooth color

A1 vs D3

A1 vs D3 tooth color

A1 vs D4

A1 vs D4 tooth color

Is A1 the whitest tooth color?

The shade A1 is a very white tooth color and is considered one of the whitest in the classical vita shade guide. However, the winner for the whitest natural tooth color belongs to shade B1.

A1 vs B1 tooth shade

B1 tooth color is ever so slightly whiter than A1, which makes A1 is the second whitest natural tooth shade. Not too shabby if you ask me.

To be quite honest, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them unless you see them side by side.

Bleached shades

Just for your information, the classical vita shade guide is for the natural shade of teeth. Due to advances in teeth whitening, there is a level of whiteness which exceeds the vita color guide.

The teeth colors which are whiter than both A1 and B1 are called the “bleached shades” or commonly referred to as the Hollywood whites.

a1 vs 0m1

As you can see in the image above where A1 is placed next to the whitest bleach shade 0M1. Clearly the 0M1 is the winner in who has the whitest teeth.

Is A1 a good color?

In our opinion, A1 is a great color to choose for your teeth whether you’re getting veneers or whitening them. The color is still whiter than the average tooth shade which is A3.

A1 and B1 vs A2
A1 and B1 vs A2

If you whiten your teeth to the shade of A1, it will still look very natural. The same can be said for if you were getting veneers and wanted to change the color of your teeth. The dental veneers will still look very natural if you go with A1.

Typically when people go a lot whiter than A1 is when the veneers can start standing out like a sore thumb. It will also look glaringly obvious that you had dental work done.

However, if you go with A1 or B1, the average person wouldn’t even be able to tell.

Best color should match adjacent teeth

Despite everything that we’ve said above, the best color for if you weren’t whitening or getting veneers would actually be your natural color. If you were getting a single crown or single veneer, you’re not suppose to pick a color that you like. You’re supposed to choose a shade that seamlessly blends in with the adjacent teeth.

If that color is A1 then that is great but if it is a different color, you should choose that other color so that it can match. The goal is to have your entire dentition to be uniform in color.


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