To Bleach or Not to Bleach – Is Whiter Necessarily Better?

The common ideal for people’s teeth has been glamorized by Hollywood celebrities for decades now, to have a gleaming, pearly smile. However regular cleaning does not produce results quite so dramatic, nor do they deliver their results in a time span many are bothered to invest. Let alone the manual effort. To that end, many turn to bleaching their teeth in order to get that white smile they so crave.

Of course this begs the question: is bleaching your teeth really worth it? Is it better to have a whiter smile, or a more natural smile? The answer boils down to a little more than mere aesthetics.

Whiter Necessarily Better

What Is Teeth Bleaching?

Let’s make it clear that teeth brightening cannot really give you a paper white smile. That’s impossible, and anyone with such a smile is either wearing a retainer or is not going to have that smile for much longer before their teeth shatter or drop from their roots. Likewise, it’s not necessarily an instantaneous process. Contrary to popular belief, most teeth whitening actually takes place over several months of treatment. The results may not be seen for a few weeks.

In this case, the dentist makes a mould of your teeth and instructs you how to use it to apply whitening gel to your teeth regularly at home. Over a period of two to four weeks, this will gradually lighten your teeth. Some treatments can be left on the teeth for a whole eight hours, reducing the amount of time treatment takes.

The instantaneous treatment (for a given definition of the word) involves lasers. Bleaching agent is applied to your teeth, and the whitening agent is activated by shining a laser onto them. This process takes an hour, but is restrictively expensive as you might expect.

Are There Risks?

This question can be answered quickly through an application of quick logic – if the treatment was dangerous for teeth, would your dentist offer it? The fact remains your dentist gets their business by looking after the teeth of their patients. If their patients’ teeth were damaged because of a dodgy treatment they provided, they’d soon be out of business and very much broke from the impending lawsuits. So rest assured, the treatment they offer is relatively risk free.

Notice two key terms there. Treatment they offer, and relatively.

When looking for whitening products, avoid anything that is not approved by the dentistry community at large. Whenever you purchase products that claim to whiten your teeth, look for approval on the packaging from the American Dental Association. If nothing else, it means it’s safe to use. Products without this endorsement, or any “home recipes” you find online will all carry their own risks.

Further, no treatment is fool-proof. People with sensitive teeth or gums may find they suffer unexpected side effects from whitening treatment. In all cases, listen carefully to the advice of your dentist before proceeding with sort of whitening treatment. They know your teeth far better than you do. Also know that dentures, caps and crowns cannot be bleached.

Is it Worth It?

This depends. Ultimately only you can decide if the results of whitening treatment are worth the expense. As to that we can offer no advice, but many people have come away from such bleaching feeling happier and more confident about their appearance. If you are uncertain of the treatment, consult a dental care professional before deciding on it is right for you. Premier Smile Center or any local dentist can provide information on the treatment and advice.

There are, of course, other ways to have a whiter smile if you wanted to save the money. The simplest and most effective is this:

• Brush your teeth regularly. Thoroughly twice a day at least. Use mouthwash and floss as well for a more assured finish. Ideally, brush after every meal.

• Avoid sugary snacks, and staining food and drinks. This includes things such as coffee and especially tea. If you must have anything like this, brush your teeth immediately after consumption.

• Avoid smoking or drinking beer. Both of these habits will stain your teeth, as well as the other associated health risks.

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