The Difference Teeth Whitening Can Make
If your teeth have yellowed or become stained, you’re likely to feel embarrassed about revealing them when you smile, which can lead to plunging self-esteem. Teeth whitening can make a huge difference in boosting your confidence by allowing you to feel good about how you look.
Professional teeth whitening1 is much faster and far more effective than whitening products and DIY kits available from drugstores. Few people have naturally brilliant-white teeth, and your teeth tend to become discolored over time.
Why Have My Teeth Become Discolored?
Yellowing of teeth is part of the aging process. This happens when the protective outer layer of your teeth – enamel – loses volume, revealing more of the underlying dentin, which is naturally yellow. This is known as intrinsic – or internal – staining.
Besides weakened tooth enamel through aging, other causes of intrinsic staining include:
- Cracks in enamel, which allows stains to go deeper into a tooth.
- Certain antibiotics, which can turn your teeth gray.
- Damage to the pulp – the central part of a tooth.
Your teeth are also susceptible to extrinsic – external – surface stains caused by dark-colored foods and drinks such as:
- Red wine.
- Foods with heavy pigmentation, like beets and blueberries.
Poor oral hygiene can also result in stains on your teeth. While plaque is colorless, if it calcifies to form tartar (dental calculus), this crusty deposit can result in brown or yellow stains on your teeth. Nicotine from smoking or chewing tobacco will also stain your teeth brown.
Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Over-the-Counter Whitening Products
Whitening toothpastes typically contain chemicals to help break down stains, and abrasive material to polish teeth. However, they can be tough on enamel. While whitening toothpastes may get rid of surface blemishes, most won’t lighten deeper staining and usually take several weeks to produce results.
In 2019, the British Dental Association warned that over-the-counter and online products to whiten teeth could be “a waste of money” – less effective than professional treatment and taking longer.
Store-bought bleaching strips and gels and tray-based whitening systems are designed to treat deeper stains but, like whitening toothpastes, may not be enamel-friendly, and could cause gum irritation.
Professional teeth whitening is the safest, most effective and comfortable way to restore the shine to your smile. It produces better results because:
- Our orthodontist has access to whitening materials with stronger bleaching agents.
- Your treatment is monitored during each stage of the whitening process.
- Your mouth is protected from damage.
- Concentrations of the whitening agent can be fine-tuned to achieve the exact level of tooth brightness you desire.
A single whitening treatment in a dental office generally takes less than an hour to lighten discoloration of both enamel and dentin to produce significant results, with teeth many shades whiter.
Teeth whitening carried out by dental experts is particularly effective in getting rid of stubborn stains, according to the American Dental Association2 (ADA).
Health Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening
Besides the cosmetic advantages of being able to show off a gleaming smile, professional teeth whitening is also good for your oral health. Firstly, the process involves taking X-rays or digital scans, which may also identify problems you were unaware of.
A good dentist won’t go ahead with teeth whitening treatment unless your teeth and gums are healthy. To do otherwise would be risky. So, before any kind of whitening treatment, your dentist needs to ensure your mouth is free from disease or decay.
After tooth whitening treatment by a dental professional, your teeth will be healthier and stronger. Our orthodontist will also be able to advise you on how to keep your teeth clean and sparkling after whitening. This advice typically concerns the proper methods of brushing and flossing and which foods and drinks to avoid.
Customized Whitening Trays
As well as in-office whitening, there are also customized whitening trays you can use at home. The custom-fit avoids problems associated with store-bought whitening trays, such as leaking gel irritating your gums.
Whitening trays prescribed by dental professionals can also be more comfortable because they use a gel with lower levels of peroxide than in-office treatments, so there’s little risk of gum soreness.
When’s a Good Time to Get My Teeth Whitened?
However, many teens and adults opt for professional teeth whitening after orthodontic treatment – the icing on the cake for newly-straightened teeth.
Braces themselves don’t discolor your teeth, but maintaining effective oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment can be tricky, which can lead to the formation of tartar.
Orthodontists often advise a six-month gap between the removal of braces and teeth whitening. Immediately after orthodontic treatment, your teeth may be temporarily sensitive. Giving yourself time to adjust will make the teeth whitening process more comfortable.
Long-Lasting Teeth Whitening with Dramatic Results
Many people find that the brighter their smile, the younger and happier they feel. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry3 (AACD), half the adult population thinks a smile makes a lasting impression.
Professional teeth whitening can make a big difference compared with whitening toothpastes and over-the-counter bleaching kits. Backed up by a good routine of oral hygiene at home, the results of professional teeth whitening are reliable and long-lasting.
Although a professional whitening session costs more than a single drugstore DIY product, it can work out less expensive than buying multiple whitening products before you see any results.
Professional teeth whitening achieves dramatic results because it lightens dentin as well as the enamel that covers it, and the treatment is tailored to your individual needs to provide the precise level of brightness you’re looking for, in the areas you want it most.