Needing to whiten your teeth is a problem many people put off, but that doesn't make it any less important to those who deal with the negative effects of dingy teeth. If you are one of the many people looking for ways to get a whiter smile, you should definitely read on, because here you will learn everything you need to know about obtaining a beautiful grin.
Why do teeth need whitened in the first place?
Some of the things that people enjoy most also have a significant yellowing effect on teeth. Coffee, tea, wine, soda, and many of the tastiest fruits and vegetables all contribute to the yellowing of teeth, not to mention vices, like tobacco use. As you grow older, your enamel wears away slowly, exposing more porous surfaces of your teeth, and eventually your teeth will become yellow in appearance. It is as inevitable as the passage of time.
What are your options for teeth whitening?
There are many choices when it comes to whitening your teeth, some more invasive than others. Listed below are your options from least to most involved.
- Brushing and flossing more often. Sometimes the brushing action is enough to lift slight surface stains and whiten your teeth a shade or two, and brushing often prevents new stains from forming.
- Brushing with whitening toothpaste. These products have gentle cleansers in them to help remove stains gradually.
- Using whitening products, like whitening pens and strips. These have stronger chemicals in them.
- Take-home kits from your dentist, which are stronger than over the counter kits.
- Chemical whitening at your dentist's office. This takes about 45 minutes.
- Porcelain veneers are the most expensive, time consuming, and invasive of your options, but can provide beautiful results.
Choosing the right option for you is between you and your dentist, but knowing your options is the first step.
Will whitening products be effective?
As you've probably guessed, when it comes to whitening your teeth, you get what you pay for. Cheap alternatives don't produce results anywhere near the results you can get in a dentist's office. But sometimes no chemical whitening agent will be effective because your teeth are not stained, they are discolored. There is a simple way to tell if you're going to waste your money on those whitening strips. Hold a piece of paper up to your teeth. If they look yellow next to the paper, it's probably because you have surface stains, which are treatable. If they look grey it is more likely that they are discolored from the inside out, which is not treatable with anything short of veneers.
What are the risks and benefits of teeth whitening?
It might seem like a small decision to some, but choosing whether to have your teeth whitened can make a big impact for a lot of people. Here's what you need to know about the risks and benefits.
- Increased sensitivity to heat and cold. This is especially true for chemical agents like strips and take-home kits from the dentist.
- Damage to your enamel. This is most common in people who leave the chemical agents on for far too long.
- Injury to your gums. The chemicals used to whiten teeth are not very friendly to soft tissues like your gums. They can cause burn-like injuries if they are not properly applied.
- Increased confidence. When you feel good about your smile you're more likely to smile often.
- Having a healthy-looking smile can increase job prospects.
Now that you know about all the reasons to whiten your teeth, which teeth whitening method seems best for you?