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The 411 on Professional Teeth Whitening

Just how important is a winning smile? Most people floss and brush their teeth regularly to keep cavities away, but apparently having healthy teeth is not enough for some people. There is heavy emphasis on having vibrant, white teeth, and yellow or dull teeth are considered as unattractive.

Experts weigh in on the topic and the results are astounding.

The Social Norms for Whiter Teeth
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) conducted a recent survey that cemented the importance of a bright smile. In its website, the authority of cosmetic dentistry asked American adults what they think of their smiles, and 99.7% responded that they think their smiles are “important social assets.” When asked about the relationship of an attractive smile in terms of sex appeal, then 96% of the respondents said they believe they’ll be more appealing to the opposite sex if they have more striking smiles. Even the professional sphere isn’t exempt from the lure of a good smile, as 74% of the respondents think that an unattractive smile can hold them back from a successful career. Finally, majority of the respondents said they want to improve their smile by having whiter and brighter teeth.

In line with this, a recent study released by The American Association of Orthodontists explored the demand for tooth whitening as it continues to grow over the last two decades. The organization tapped 3,601 orthodontists affiliated with the organization to assess the current industry’s practices regarding tooth whitening. The results said that 88.8% of the respondents had patients who requested the procedure, while 76% recently recommended the procedure for patients. The study concluded that “almost all orthodontists encounter patients who request whitening procedures and most recommend whitening procedures for a small percentage of their patients.”

This hype for whiter, brighter teeth is not exclusive to the medical community. In fact, Mix 96, a CBS Local affiliate, covered a study that explored what people first notice upon meeting someone new. The study revealed that 37% remarked that they first notice the smile, followed by 33% for the eyes, 15% for the weight, 9% for the hair, and 2% for the nose.

That’s not all – apparently having a winning smile is not just enough to attract someone, you also need to have good teeth! The same article continued to say that bad teeth is considered as the biggest dating turn-off among both genders, with 77% of female participants saying they think crooked teeth is “worse than a receding hairline,” while 22% of the total respondents actually think that they’ll have a better shot at love if they have better teeth. Similar to the AACD survey, 78% of the respondents of this survey think that people with crooked teeth are unsuccessful.

Causes of Teeth Discoloration
Since the deciduous or baby teeth are oftentimes whiter than the permanent teeth adults have, most people think white teeth makes them look younger and more attractive. Adult teeth are darker in nature in comparison with baby teeth since adult teeth tend to become darker, stained, or yellower over the years.

There are two primary types of tooth discoloration: intrinsic or internal discoloration, and extrinsic or surface discoloration.

Intrinsic tooth discoloration often occurs alongside aging. As the enamel (the outer layer of a tooth) loses its translucency, it exposes the underlying dentin and makes it more visible. Overtime, the dentin can turn yellow which would lead to the yellow appearance of teeth. Tooth decay, pulp death, restorations, and trauma to developing teeth are also causes of intrinsic tooth discoloration.

On the other hand, extrinsic discoloration occurs when dark pigmented items come into contact with the enamel. The most common culprits are dark drinks such as coffee, tea, and red wine. Smoking cigarettes and tobacco are also to blame as they contain nicotine and tar, two substances that tend to stain the enamel.

What to Expect from Professional Teeth Whitening
There are two general types of teeth whitening procedures: professional teeth whitening and over-the-counter teeth whitening. The procedure usually called for bleaches, the strength of which depends on the severity of the discoloration. The bleach can be in the form of a powerful gel that has to be administered by a dentist, or over-the-counter products that have significantly lower doses that patients can apply on their own. Generally, professional teeth whitening treatments are safer, more effective, and more expensive. On the other hand, the DIY variants may require several treatments to see obvious results.

Professional teeth whitening utilize high-concentration whitening gels. The dentist applies the gel to the patient’s teeth and leaves it on for a period of time. The dentist may use a light or heat source such as a laser to make the procedure more effective.

Meanwhile, over-the-counter treatments are safe to use as long as they contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Treatments range from whitening toothpastes, strips, and gums, among others.

Why You Need an Expert
The efficacy of teeth whitening significantly increase when the procedure is performed by a dentist. A dentist has access to more powerful products and has the expertise to further bolster the bleaching properties of the materials.

When performed property, there should be minimal side effects to teeth whitening. Some patients experienced increased tooth sensitivity, which typically subsides in one to four days. The effects of a whitening procedure usually last anytime from six months to two years, depending on the amount of discoloration.

However, it is worth pointing out that a tooth whitening procedure is not instantaneous, and that the patient may require several visits before the preferred whiteness is achieved. Yet with proper care and maintenance, the whiter teeth can last for a long time.

Professional teeth whitening is one of the areas that Kyrene Family Dentistry specializes in. We employ practices and procedures that will not just ensure effectiveness, but also your safety and unique needs as a patient. If you want to know more about our how we can help you achieve whiter teeth, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.