Aside from straightening their teeth, most people would agree that having whiter teeth is one thing they want to change about their smile. But a lot of people are skeptical of teeth whitening procedures.
Some people believe that there is no point to getting their teeth bleached because it may not even work in the first place and it is just a waste of money. Others may be more concerned about the safety of it and if it will cause any long term problems.
If teeth bleaching is something you have been wondering about doing for yourself, we are here to give you all the pros and cons to help you decide if it is appropriate for you.
What Causes Stains?
First, you should understand what causes your teeth to get discolored in the first place.
There are many ways your teeth can get stained. Some beverages can cause stains as you drink them over time. Teeth also naturally get darker as you age.
Some antibiotics have even been known to cause stains on your teeth. Tetracycline for example has been known to cause stains that range in severity.
There are also many inorganic stains that can happen on your teeth. For example, most Americans have a mild degree of fluorosis, which is basically white marks on the surface of your teeth.
This is caused by consuming too much fluoride as your teeth are developing (which is usually until about age eight).
You can also get inorganic stains from metals. Some people who get silver fillings in their mouth notice dark gray or blue stains in their teeth afterwards.
There are other ways your teeth can get stained too, but I think you get the picture.
Will it Work?
As you can see, there are many ways your teeth can get stained. And teeth bleaching works differently depending on the stain.
If you are serious about getting your teeth whitened, you should know if it will actually work for you.
Teeth bleaching tends to work well on stains that are more mild and stains that occur naturally. For example, stains that are yellowish brown or light gray are good candidates for teeth bleaching. And stains like these can happen naturally as you age.
If your stains are more severe or are from unnatural causes, such as from a silver filling, then bleaching may not be as effective.
Stains like these may bleach eventually but they will require a longer duration of treatment and may not work as well overall.
Is it safe?
One of the biggest concerns most people have when getting their teeth whitened is whether or not they will have pain afterwards.
Most people experience a few days of sensitivity after bleaching their teeth.
But, this is usually mild in terms of pain and will stop once the bleaching procedure is finished. And using a desensitizing toothpaste can also help protect your teeth and prevent sensitivity.
Keep in mind, though, if you already have a history of sensitivity, getting your teeth bleached may not be a good idea.
You may also experience an irritation if the bleaching agent gets in contact with your gums, especially if it is higher in concentration.
As always, you should discuss with your dentist about what is best for you before doing anything.
Home vs. Office Bleaching
If you are looking into teeth whitening, you are probably wondering about the difference between doing it at home versus getting it done in a dental office.
There are benefits and downfalls to both.
If done at home, your results will generally be more effective and predictable, you will spend less time in the dental office and you will end up spending less money.
You will typically start to see results after the first week of treatment. But, this also relies on you doing it correctly at home.
Whereas if done in a dental office, your dentist will have more control over the procedure and you will see results quicker. But, it will cost a lot more, you will spend more time in the dental office, and the results aren’t as predictable.
To keep it short, you are going to see results either way if it is done right.
But, most people end up doing at home because it is cheaper and they have to spend less time in the dental office.
Regardless, it is best to talk to your dentist beforehand to figure out the best treatment for you.
How Long Will it Last?
If your teeth meet the right criteria beforehand and the bleaching is done correctly, teeth bleaching will make a noticeable difference. And the results usually last for a while.
Typically, it will last one to three years before your teeth go back to their previous shade. And as expected, the darker the stains are initially the faster they will return to their original shade.
And in terms of re-treatment, you would only need a touch up when there is an obvious relapse to the original shade of your teeth.
Should You Do it?
At the end of the day, the decision of whether or not to get your teeth whitened is up to you.
Teeth bleaching as an elective cosmetic procedure. Meaning, it is not urgent and it is not required to maintain your oral health.
Your oral health should always be your top priority. If you walk into a dental office and your mouth is full of cavities, getting your teeth whitened should be the last thing on your mind. And your dentist will tell you so.
Let’s say your oral health is in prime condition. One thing we haven’t talked about yet is the cost of teeth bleaching.
On average it will cost between 300 and 3000 dollars to get your teeth bleached professionally in a dental office and anywhere between 20 and 150 dollars to bleach your teeth at home.
As you can see, there is a huge price difference, which can help explain why more people choose to do it at home.
I don’t know about your financial situation and I’m not your financial adviser so I can’t say whether or not it is worth it for you. But, I do believe that having a great smile is priceless.
That is because having a nice smile goes way beyond your teeth.
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. Knowing that, wouldn’t you be a lot more confident when you meet people if you know your smile is amazing?
Of course you will. Who doesn’t want to show off a great smile?
Aside from boosting your confidence, a nice smile simply gives you a reason to smile more. And there are plenty of benefits to smiling more in your life!
If you have a healthy mouth, getting your teeth whitened can be very effective and can make a big difference in your smile and daily life.
If you are interested in it, be sure to talk to your dentist beforehand as only he/she will know what is best for you!
Dental Secrets is providing this information for informational purposes only. Please consult a dentist or health advisor for questions. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up to date. What I write is my opinion and is not meant to be any sort of health or dental advice.