The Difference Professional Teeth Whitening Can Make

a girl smiling

Teeth can lose their shine over time through yellowing and staining. A popular solution to this problem is professional teeth whitening, which can make a huge difference to your smile.

Just as graying hair is a natural part of the aging process, so is yellowing of your teeth. Your teeth yellow when their protective outer layer, enamel, gets thinner, allowing more of the underlying dentin to show through.

While the aging process is beyond our control, other factors can play a part in staining your teeth, including:

  • Tobacco use.
  • Drinks such as coffee, tea, and red wine.
  • Certain medications.
  • Poor dental hygiene.
  • Dental trauma.

A change in the shade of dentin is known as intrinsic discoloration. Extrinsic staining refers to enamel discoloration.

Your Teeth Whitening Options

Even if you brush and floss routinely, the ravages of time can take their toll on your teeth, leaving unsightly stains.

If your teeth are discolored, you’ll probably feel uncomfortable about revealing them and self-conscious about your smile. This can lead to a loss of self-regard – smiling can actually make you feel better about yourself.

Your teeth whitening options include:

Whitening Toothpastes

Some people try to remove stains on their teeth with whitening toothpastes, which usually contain chemicals that can help to break down stains, plus abrasives to polish the teeth. However, whitening toothpastes can be tough on enamel, and some should only be used temporarily.

Whitening toothpastes can remove surface blemishes but cannot lighten deeper staining or change the natural color of your teeth, and generally, take several weeks to produce any noticeable results.

Bleaching Gels and Strips

Deeper, intrinsic stains need a treatment that alters the color of your teeth. This can be achieved with a bleaching agent, typically containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

These chemicals break down stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated. Over-the-counter bleaching agents for teeth can be found in gels and strips and tray-based tooth whiteners.

While over-the-counter bleaching gels and strips are designed to treat stains that go deeper than the tooth surface, they may damage tooth enamel and cause irritation of the gums and increased tooth sensitivity.

Professional Teeth Whitening by a Dentist

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), professional teeth whitening can make a big difference when it comes to getting rid of stubborn stains.

Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening

Many people who have tried store-bought teeth whitening and bleaching products without getting the desired results often turn to professional teeth whitening in a dental office, which provides the safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth.

Whitening materials available to your dentist contain stronger bleaching agents than you can get over the counter, and so produce better results.

Professional teeth whitening is far safer and more comfortable because it’s carried out by an expert who monitors every step of the process. The concentration and levels of the whitening agent can be fine-tuned, and your gums and the rest of your mouth are covered for protection.

A single professional whitening treatment usually takes less than an hour and avoids repeat applications of messy, over-the-counter products. An experienced cosmetic dentist can lighten discoloration of both enamel and dentin to produce dramatic results, with teeth many shades whiter.

A Personalized Treatment That Also Has Health Benefits

The professional teeth whitening process is customized to your individual needs, with your dentist examining your teeth and taking X-rays. They can then create the precise level of tooth brightness you require, in the areas you want it most.

Professional teeth whitening can also make a difference with regard to your oral health. When a dental professional removes tooth stains, your teeth will become stronger and healthier, improving the condition of your whole mouth.

Your dentist will also be able to advise you on how you can help to keep your teeth healthy and sparkling after whitening treatment by regular brushing and flossing and using a mouthwash, and avoiding certain foods and drinks.

Customized Whitening Trays From Your Dentist

You can also get custom-made whitening trays from your dentist for use at home. These provide a highly-effective alternative to over-the-counter whitening trays, which can lead to soreness because of a poor fit that results in the gel irritating your gums.

Whitening trays prescribed by dentists use a gel with a lower concentration of peroxide than in-office treatments, posing little risk of gum sensitivity.

Is Professional Teeth Whitening Worth the Investment?

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), 50 percent of adults believe a smile makes a lasting impression.

Although professional whitening is more expensive than store-bought products, it’s a good investment for significantly improving your appearance and self-esteem. When you smile, your body produces hormones that make you feel happy. Getting sparkling, healthy teeth with professional teeth whitening will encourage you to smile more.

Professional teeth whitening may also be a good investment in your professional life. Studies suggest that people with an attractive smile are regarded as more successful and smarter, and it can even help you to breeze through job interviews.

The best results ¬– teeth up to eight shades brighter – typically take several 30- to 60-minute visits. Reinforced with good oral hygiene at home, the results of professional teeth whitening are reliable and long lasting.

How to Find a Good Dentist for Teeth Whitening

Professional whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural color of your teeth without damaging the tooth surface. The difference professional teeth whitening can make to your smile embraces multiple benefits including:

  • Safe and effective treatment.
  • Faster and longer-lasting results.
  • Dental supervision in the unlikely event anything goes wrong.

While technology and expertise are important factors in professional teeth whitening, many people look for a dentist they can feel comfortable with during their treatment. Look for a dentist with a personalized approach who is prepared to listen to your concerns and goals as you work together to get the smile of your dreams.

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