Why teeth whitening is more popular than everDr Alice Yang
Is your Instagram feed full of beautiful people with dazzling smiles? You’re not alone.
Do you look in the mirror or at your own smiley selfies and wish your teeth were a bit – or a lot – whiter? You’re definitely not alone.
How do we know? Because it’s the thing we get asked about most often. Not to mention that the number of Google searches related to teeth whitening is off the charts!
Why people whiten their teeth
It doesn’t really matter what your motivation is, if having whiter teeth gives you greater self-confidence, that’s reason enough to do it.
It’s not just about looking great in photos, either. Numerous studies have concluded that people who smile are perceived as more likeable and approachable and even more trustworthy.
If you’re embarrassed that your teeth are a bit discoloured, you might have a tendency to smile less, but if you love the bright and clean whiteness of your teeth, you’ll most likely be smiling a lot.
You’ll feel great and so will the people you’re smiling at.
Why your teeth don’t stay white
Your baby teeth start off white, although, much like hair and skin colour, there are some genetic differences in your natural base enamel colour.
Over time, our permanent teeth become discoloured due to either intrinsic or extrinsic factors.
Intrinsic factors include things like the side effects of some medications – for example the antibiotic tetracycline – fluorosis, trauma, or a history of root canal treatment.
Extrinsic factors are pretty common to all of us, including the accumulation of plaque and tartar deposits, use of tobacco, and the consumption of certain foods and drinks (the most obvious being coffee, tea, colas, and red wine).
Is teeth whitening safe?
Done in consultation with a dental professional, whitening teeth is a low-risk, predictable, extremely effective and reasonably fast procedure.
However, it doesn’t work for people with fillings or crowns and those with intrinsic stains.
There is a chance that having your teeth whitened will increase sensitivity in some teeth, but there’s generally an underlying reason for that, which we can then investigate.
The concern that some people have that the procedure might cause some damage to their tooth enamel is unfounded, as peroxide is basically made from water and urea, which are natural products and have been shown to be safe.
How do you whiten teeth?
There are three ways you can go:
- Use an over-the-counter product
- Get a customised take-home kit from a dentist
- Sit in a chair for about an hour to get it done in the dental office.
Each has its pros and cons.
Over the counter products tend to use a more diluted concentration of peroxide to ensure that they’re safe, even for those who don’t follow the instructions to the letter. They are also one-size-fits-all, which means they aren’t made to fit your teeth and may miss some, particularly near the gum line. The results from these products is also less likely to be long lasting.
A take-home kit also uses a lower concentration of peroxide than an in-office treatment, reducing the risk of gum sensitivity. You use custom-made whitening trays that fit comfortably in your mouth, and fill them with whitening gel. You wear the trays for 30 minutes to several hours every day.
In-office whitening uses a whitening gel with a much stronger concentration of peroxide. After an hour or even less, the gel will break apart the bonds between stained molecules, giving you a dramatically brighter smile.
Lasers or specially formatted lights are used to achieve optimal results. The high-power light activates the gel, allowing oxygen to penetrate your teeth more thoroughly.
What does MDC recommend?
At Middleborough Dental Care, we offer the choice of a take-home kit or in-chair bleaching.
If you have the patience to do bleaching in a slow and steady way every night for three weeks, a customised take-home kit might be ideal.
If you’re busy and want instant results, the light-activated PolaOffice+ in-chair procedure will be more appealing.
Please pay us a visit so we can assess the reason for the discolorations of your teeth and recommend the best treatment to help you get whiter teeth so you can dazzle your family and friends (and Instagram followers) with your amazing smile.