Is Tooth Whitening the Answer to a Brighter, Happier Smile?

Teeth Whitening
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Written in partnership with JuxtDigital.

Smiling is one of the purest, most sincere reactions you can have to something or someone. It can express so much that sometimes it is hard to decipher the reason behind that smile. But what if your actual tooth colour makes you inhibit this expression of delight, joy, or amusement?

The association between tooth colour and self-esteem has long been debated, and there is no doubt – stained, yellowing teeth do impact many areas of life, including your relationships with others. Dissatisfaction with dental aesthetics results in low self-confidence, which can further negatively impact psychological behaviour. You or one of your acquaintances must have been at least once in such a situation where you were ashamed to show your positive vibes to someone else just because you knew your teeth did not look so healthy. And it is only normal – when your smile is not confident, neither are you.

Fortunately, there are various teeth whitening products, from toothpastes and OTC stripes to home remedies and tray-based treatments. Tooth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure many people choose when it comes to giving themselves a boost of confidence. Besides, this treatment is often painless, inexpensive, and extremely fruitful, resulting in immediate results. As for the location where you can do this procedure, it can be either your home or a professional dentist’s office. This will be, nonetheless, decided based on your current needs.

Regardless of the type of procedure chosen, you should be mindful of some aspects before getting your teeth whitened. Read on for meaningful insights.

Common causes of tooth discolouration

While perfectly white teeth are a myth (teeth in their natural state still appear a bit off-white), neither are they yellow. So, when your teeth are far from white and close to yellow, they are stained and discoloured. The enamel’s natural hue of white can be affected by several factors, and the most common include:

  • We are sorry to dash your hopes regarding natural bright teeth, but genetics plays a crucial role. If you did not inherit a strong, white enamel, there is nothing you can change about your teeth’ appearance but whitening.
  • Ageing Like any other body part, teeth can tire out over time; that is why seniors often wear dentures.
  • Tobacco products
  • Medicine for cancer treatment
  • Some foods and beverages, including sauces, wine, sugary drinks, and coffee
  • Last but not least, poor hygiene. Remember that brushing your teeth should be done at least twice daily, ideally in the morning and evening.

The whitening process eliminates surface stains

The most important aspect to understand from this procedure is the actual procedure and solutions used to remove surface stains. More often than not, dentists make use of a peroxide solution that, depending on each and every case, is activated either with a light or laser. Light is preferred by more and more professionals nowadays, as it does not heap up the teeth as much as laser and it is also much more efficient. Nonetheless, it would be wise to acknowledge that, no matter the whitening method, your teeth are not going to change their shade drastically, especially if their natural state’s colour is not snow white.

Whitening takes hold better after you get your teeth cleaned

It may sound too obvious, but brushing and taking care of your teeth will make whitening more effective. There is a slight chance for this procedure to come to fruition if you have unhealthy gums and tartar and plaque on your teeth. Ensure also you prepare for what may come afterward – teeth sensitivity. Although this is rarely alarming, it is a common whitening side effect you would better be aware of before undertaking the procedure. Fluoridated toothpaste is your best ally in this sense, so make sure you use it before this professional whitening session to prevent or at least minimise post-whitening tooth sensitivity.

However, whitening is not advisable if you have any dental disease or condition, as it can worsen some of these concerns. Ensure you consult a professional dentist before making any decision regarding this procedure to mitigate the related risks. Also, it would be recommended not to do teeth whitening after gum surgery, implant placement, or during orthodontic treatment but rather delay the procedure until it is safe for your health.

Whitening does not work on restorations and fillings

If you have any dental implants or fillings, it would be wise to know that these will not whiten. So, if you are truly determined to have snow-white teeth, ensure you are financially prepared to replace any fillings after the whitening process. The cost will depend on your very case, so expect to spend a little to a lot of money in this regard.

Whitening does not damage your teeth

There is a strong belief that whitening will damage your teeth’ enamel, but this is rather a myth than a truth. After all, even violent brushing of your teeth can lead to damage, so it is only about your dentist’s professionalism. If they use whitening as instructed, this procedure will be unexpectedly safe. The active ingredients used in this process will temporarily open pores in your teeth and lift stains, which will further help teeth naturally rehydrate and remineralize. The sensitivity that might come afterward is only normal, given that it is, after all, a cosmetic procedure implying some sort of sensitising substances. Nevertheless, if you take exemplary care of your teeth and are mindful of your meals a couple of days after the whitening, there is nothing to worry about.

At-home whitening products can be as efficient as professional treatment

Professional whitening is not always the most feasible solution and, honestly, not even the most necessary. You can achieve remarkable results with at-home whitening products such as whitening trays and strips. However, it is essential to understand that this kind of product has a lower concentration of active solution, meaning that you will not have your seven shades brighter after a single use. But if your teeth are already white and healthy, these trays and kits can give them that needed boost of confidence.

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