When to Whiten Your Teeth
First impressions are important, and your smile says a lot about you. As well as appearing more attractive to others, showing off your sparkling white teeth also makes you feel better about yourself.
However, over time teeth are susceptible to yellowing and staining from drinks such as coffee, tea, and sodas. That’s when you may decide it’s time to whiten your teeth. Some people turn to over-the-counter whitening toothpastes or bleaching agents in an attempt to get back their winning smile, while others opt for professional teeth whitening treatment.
Before comparing the DIY approach and whitening by a dentist, we’ll look at factors that may lead you to conclude it’s time to whiten your teeth.
Making a Good Impression and Boosting Your Self-Confidence
The most common reason that people decide to whiten their teeth is to make a good first impression. When someone smiles at you, they expect you to smile back. If you don’t, they may perceive your lack of reaction as disrespectful. They won’t realize that you’re simply too embarrassed to smile because of the state of your teeth.
Having whiter teeth can also improve your self-esteem. Many people associate their confidence with their appearance, and knowing you have an attractive smile with gleaming teeth will boost your self-regard.
Improving Your Professional Life
Brighter teeth can improve your professional life. While some individuals earn a living by looking good – models and actors, for example – a Hollywood smile also plays a crucial role across most other professions.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) asserts that an individual with a great smile is seen as being more intelligent, and the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics (AJO-DO) says a person’s appearance can affect their prospects of landing a job.
Looking for Romance?
An authentic smile plays a major role if you’re single and looking to find a partner. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, more than 85 percent of adults believe that an unattractive smile makes people less appealing to the opposite sex.
Body language experts say a genuine smile communicates that you’re friendly and interested and willing to interact.
Whitening After Braces and Before Cosmetic Dental Work
Many people decide it’s a good time to whiten their teeth after removal of fixed braces. While wearing braces, it’s more difficult to clean your teeth effectively, which can result in staining that’s revealed after orthodontic treatment. If you’ve persevered with braces to get straight teeth, leaving your teeth stained won’t give you the smile you’ve always dreamt of.
It’s also a good idea to whiten your teeth first if you’re considering getting dental veneers or a crown, which are created to match your adjacent teeth and can’t be whitened to a lighter shade.
Big Event Coming Up?
Another good time to whiten your teeth is before a big event in your life such as:
- First date.
- Wedding – especially your own!
- School reunion.
- Job interview.
- Landmark birthdays.
Why are My Teeth Discolored?
If you’ve been a smoker and managed to kick the habit, that’s certainly something to smile about. Why not reward yourself with teeth whitening to enhance your smile by restoring your teeth to their former glory.
Besides smoking, other reasons teeth become discolored include:
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Consuming dark-colored drinks.
- Certain medications.
DIY Teeth Whitening Vs. Professional Whitening
Whitening toothpastes are designed to minimize wear on tooth enamel while optimizing cleaning. They remove surface blemishes but can’t lighten deeper stains or change the natural color of your teeth. These toothpastes contain mild abrasives to polish teeth and chemicals to break down stains.
Bleaching agents such as gels and strips can treat stains that go deeper than the tooth surface. They’re more effective than whitening toothpaste because they stay in contact with the tooth surface for longer but can result in gum irritation and increased tooth sensitivity.
Of all the various teeth whitening options, your dentist will provide the safest, longest-lasting results. Backed up by a sound routine of brushing and flossing, the results of professional teeth whitening are very reliable. According to the Oral Health Foundation, professional teeth whitening can last up to three years but varies from case to case.
Whitening materials used by dentists produce better results because they contain more robust bleaching agents than store-bought products. Your dentist will also ensure your gums are protected from irritation during treatment.
Your dentist can also provide you with customized whitening trays for use at home. These will be more comfortable than store-bought trays, which because of a poor fit can cause the whitening gel to leak and irritate your gums. Dentist-prescribed whitening trays also use a gel with a lower concentration of peroxide than monitored in-office treatment, posing little risk of gum sensitivity.
Professional Teeth Whitening is Safer and More Effective
DocShop, the online platform that helps people find healthcare professionals, says some over-the-counter bleaching products can damage tooth enamel and asserts that dentist-supervised whitening is safer and more effective in removing deep-set stains.
A single whitening treatment by a dentist generally takes less than an hour, as opposed to repeating applications of messy, store-bought whitening products. Your dentist can lighten discoloration of enamel (the hard surface of the teeth) and dentin (the material underneath enamel) to produce dramatic results, with teeth becoming many shades whiter.
Apart from cosmetic considerations, professional teeth whitening brings oral health benefits. With the removal of stains during professional whitening treatment, your teeth will become healthier and stronger, improving the condition of your whole mouth.
Unlike over-the-counter whitening products, teeth whitening by a dental professional is personalized to your individual needs to give you the precise level of brightness you’re looking for.
Your dentist can also advise you on keeping your teeth sparkling after treatment by a good daily oral healthcare routine – brushing, flossing and using a mouthwash – and avoiding drinks such as red wine and coffee.
Why Professional Teeth Whitening is a Sound Investment
Professional teeth whitening costs more than over-the-counter treatments but represents a good investment for significantly improving your appearance and self-confidence. Compared with over-the-counter treatments, teeth whitening by a dentist will get your teeth brighter more quickly.
The bleaching agent used by a dentist is typically far stronger than that in store-bought kits, and a combination of heat and light may be used to intensify the whitening process. The best results – teeth up to eight shades brighter – usually take several 30- to 60-minute appointments.