When we meet someone new, one of the first things that we tend to notice about them is their smile. A warm, friendly smile can be a huge attribute in life, but when you feel self-conscious or embarrassed about your teeth, actually sharing this simple gesture can be a lot harder than you might expect. While there are lots of different aspects of our smile that we might dislike, the color of our teeth is a key concern for the majority of people.
Contrary to popular belief, teeth aren’t actually perfectly white, to begin with. Nevertheless, as we get older and they are exposed to different things, staining and discoloration can occur. Some of the biggest culprits causing this problem include foods and drinks containing tannins such as berries, red wine and coffee, and smoking. If you smoke, the nicotine you inhale will certainly cause your teeth to yellow. Our teeth also become darker in color as we age, and this is because the dentin, which is semi-hidden below the outer layer of enamel, becomes darker and can show through the translucent covering. Trauma too can lead to damage that darkens and discolors the teeth.
Whatever the reason that your smile isn’t quite as white as you’d like, there is a solution. It is known as teeth whitening.
About Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatment in the world. A recent survey has found that at least 80% of Americans aged between 18 and 49 would like whiter teeth with the majority of them believing that a brighter smile would boost their self-confidence.
The teeth whitening market is estimated to worth more than several billion pounds, with a lot of that revenue being spent on over-the-counter products that claim to be able to whiten teeth. While there is an element of success to many of them, most patients find that the results take a long time to see and are difficult to sustain without continued use of the products.
Professional, in-office whitening carried out by a licensed dentist is considered to be the most effective way at improving the color of your teeth. There are several reasons for this. Professional whitening:
- is carried out by an experienced dentist
- uses higher concentrations of bleach than are available in over-the-counter products
- ensures that the gums and mouth are sufficiently protected from the effects of the bleaching agent
- delivers most consistent results since the bleaching agent is placed by a professional who has better visual and physical access to your teeth
- is the most long-lasting
- procedures superior results in fewer sessions
Exactly how many sessions you will need will depend on the original color of your teeth and the shade of white that you are hoping to achieve.
How often should I whiten my teeth?
If you are using at-home products, then you may need to continue using them indefinitely to maintain your results. This is certainly the case for kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes that claim to whiten your teeth. If you use at-home kits, the results may last a little longer, but you will probably find that you need to boost your color improvement around once every 6-8 weeks. Take-home trays, which are supplied by a cosmetic dentist but applied by yourself at home, usually yield results lasting between four and six months.
If you, like countless others, have decided that professional teeth whitening is for you, you will find that provided you take good care of your teeth, your results will last quite a long time. Most in-office whitening procedures will keep your teeth looking bright and white for around 12 months before a top-up treatment or two is required.
It is important to remember that no two patients are the same. Precisely how often you will need to have your teeth whitened will depend on your individual circumstances, but our experienced cosmetic dentistry team will be happy to provide you with an estimation. Contact our offices today to speak to us or to arrange a consultation.