Do you like the color of your smile? Studies have shown that the vast majority of people would prefer their teeth to be whiter, lighter, and brighter than they are currently. Even if your teeth aren’t significantly discolored, they do get darker as we age, and many people feel that their teeth make them look older than they really are. The media has taught us that people with white, bright smiles are happier, healthier, more attractive, and more successful, so perhaps it’s no wonder that we want to own these attributes for ourselves.
It’s very normal for teeth to become discolored or stained over time. This happens when staining particles from the food and drink we consume start to accumulate in the film of protein that covers the tooth enamel. Some of the most common contributors to staining include tea, coffee, red wine, berries, and smoking. Smoking causes the teeth to become yellower, which is a result of stain particles from the nicotine becoming attached to the teeth. Poor dental hygiene can contribute towards staining and make it worse, since failing to remove plaque can enable stains to build up and become increasingly darker.
Many people think that brushing their teeth hard or more often can help to get rid of stains. However, once they’ve built up this is rarely effective and actually, you could damage the enamel of your teeth and your gums if you aren’t careful. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth as per the recommended guidelines – twice each day using fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes, but that you don’t brush too vigorously. However, to truly improve the color of your smile, you need to consider teeth whitening treatment.
You’ve probably already seen many different products in stores and online that claim to whiten your teeth. There are lots of over-the-counter treatments that you can buy, with varying degrees of success. The problem with these is that they are only available with low strength bleach (since high strength bleach whitening is only available via a professional) and this means that results can take a long time to see, are mediocre, and quick to fade. Professional teeth whitening is by far the safest and most effective way to make a big difference to the color of your smile.
Professional teeth whitening usually takes one of two forms. The first is that you can go into your cosmetic dentist’s office for treatment, where special guards will be used to protect your gums and mouth from the bleach. It is applied by your dentist, who uses a light to activate the whitening paste and helps you to rinse your teeth clean after treatment.
Alternatively, some dentists offer take-home trays. These are bespoke trays designed to fit the shape and size of your teeth. You simply fill the trays with the bleach provided and wear them in the comfort of your own home. All instructions for treatment will be provided by your dentist.
Higher-strength bleach can be used, helping patients to achieve better results more quickly (with fewer sessions).
Your tongue, gums, and other soft oral tissues will be protected from bleach.
Your dentist can apply the whitening solution evenly across your teeth, giving you a more consistent result.
Professional whitening is considered to be safer than using over-the-counter products.
Results are visible much more quickly, with some professional whitening services shown to improve teeth color by as many as seven shades in one section.
Results from professional whitening are longer-lasting and those achieved through over-the-counter products.
If you want whiter, brighter teeth and you have further questions about teeth whitening, our dedicated dental team would be happy to help you. Please call us today at 703-448-3527 to schedule your appointment.