The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and show gratitude for the year’s blessings. If your family is like mine, these family gatherings usually involve taking pictures of everyone and all the fun being had. While it is fun to look back at past photos and reminisce, no one wants to see themselves in pictures and wish their smile were better. Tooth bleaching is one simple way you might be able to improve your smile for those holiday photos.
If you think you might benefit from a brighter smile, here are three bleaching options to make your smile shine this holiday season:
- Whitening Toothpastes contain abrasive particles that scrub surface stains from teeth. This quick and inexpensive option may not be a long-term fix but could help brighten your smile right before the cameras start flashing.
- At Home Bleaching with Custom-Made Bleaching Trays involves placing a peroxide-containing bleaching gel in a custom-made tray that is worn over your teeth for one to a few hours a day over several days. Over the counter whitening strips are also available to use at home; however, the concentration of the bleaching agent in these products is lower than that of the gel dispensed by a dentist, and the fit of the strips is not as precise as that of the trays a dentist custom makes for your teeth, so the whitening results are typically not as dramatic.
- Bleaching at Your Dentist’s Office achieves the fastest results and is great if you want a whiter smile immediately or simply do not have the time to do it yourself at home. During this process, a dental professional will first place a protective barrier on your gums before applying a concentrated bleaching solution to your teeth which is then activated by a light. Your smile could be several shades brighter in just one hour!
While teeth bleaching is effective for most patients, it is always best to speak with your dentist before deciding on a whitening treatment. Many factors contribute to tooth discoloration. Pigmented foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, red wine and tomato sauce, stain our teeth as does tobacco use. Other factors such as age, trauma, and medications can also contribute to tooth discoloration. It is important to know that different types of tooth discolorations respond differently to bleaching agents. Yellow stains respond well to tooth bleach, whereas brown stains respond more slowly, and gray stains may not respond at all. Restorations such as fillings, crowns and veneers will not change shades with bleaching. Patients may also experience sensitivity while using teeth whiteners. While this sensitivity is usually only temporary, overuse of teeth whiteners can result in damage to the tooth’s enamel and gums which may result in prolonged sensitivity.
If you are interested in whitening your teeth and would like to discuss your options, the team at Cheek Dental would love to help you smile brighter this holiday season!