According to a national survey from the American Dental Association (ADA) and Crest and Oral B, the smile outranked eyes, hair and the body as the most attractive physical feature. With summer here and our calendars filled with wedding and graduation dates, the need to look our best becomes even more important to us. Teeth whitening is one of the most common and popular ways to make a big difference in your appearance and greatly improve how your teeth look, not to mention making you look years younger, more attractive, and more confident.
Why do people whiten their teeth?
It's a simple fact that white teeth look a lot better than yellow teeth. White teeth not only look more attractive, giving you the confidence to laugh and smile more in public, but also a whiter and brighter smile, can also help in both personal and professional pursuits. The process of whitening teeth has become increasingly more common in recent years, largely due to a desire to have white teeth that look beautiful and untouched by foods, drinks and other substances that can stain teeth over time. The most common reasons for teeth to become yellow or stained are aging, which makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner; the use of tobacco; drinking dark colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine; certain medicines such as tetracycline (antibiotic) staining, excessive fluoride, old fillings; and poor dental hygiene.
How is teeth whitening done?
Teeth whitening treatment essentially lightens the color of your teeth to improve your appearance by reducing tooth discoloration, giving you a brighter smile. Teeth differ in shade and some people's teeth are naturally darker than others. The actual degree of "whiteness" achieved will vary from patient to patient, but the results are invariably a great improvement. Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. Below is a summary of some of the various types of whitening available, which includes two new and exciting products now available to the consumer, Start Pure® and Opalescence Go, both currently available at The Dentists' Office.
- NEW Start Pure® Professional - Available only through your dentist. Start Pure® is a product that uses a super violet LED light to activate the teeth whitening gel and gives you the best results possible in the shortest amount of time. Research has shown that the purple LED light spectrum is the most effective frequently of light used to whiten teeth fast and with virtually no sensitivity. Some patients have reports up to eight shades whiter in one 20 minute session! For the best long term results Start Pure ® offers teeth whitening pens to help you maintain your brighter, whiter smile.
- NEW Opalescence Go - Opalescence Go is the perfect option for patients who are looking for convenient, ready-to-go whitening. Opalescence Go is a professional whitening gel delivered in a prefilled, disposable tray that can deliver dramatic results in as little as 15 minutes per day. The enhanced UltraFit™ trays with their unique material warms with the temperature of the body and comfortably molds to the patient's teeth, providing a custom-like fit. There are no impressions, no models and no lab time required. The prefilled trays can be worn right out of the package. Wear time ranges from 15 to 90 minutes depending upon the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in the Opalescence Go trays purchased.
- In-home whitening, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make custom mouthpieces/trays to fit you. You will fill each mouthpiece with a whitening gel your dentist provides, and wear the mouthpiece for approximately one hour every day. Many people achieve the amount of whitening they want within a week or two, and maintain by wearing the trays as needed.
- In-office whitening allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel that allows bleaching to happen faster, and usually takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending upon how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. The whitening agent is then placed on the teeth, and repeated until the desired shade is obtained.
Whitening is not recommended in children under the age of 16. This is because the pulp chamber, or nerve of the tooth, is enlarged until this age. Teeth whitening under this condition could irritate the pulp or cause it to become sensitive. In addition, certain dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening, such as cavities, that need to be treated before teeth are whitened. Whitening is also not recommended in pregnant or lactating women. The ADA and most dentists recommend that prior to any whitening procedure you have a consultation with your dentist, who will examine the condition and sensitivity of your teeth and gums. In the end, the result will be a whiter and brighter smile, and a greater feeling of self-confidence!