Is Teeth Whitening Right for You?
Are you looking for a cost effective way to improve your smile and overall image? If so, you might be a candidate for teeth whitening treatments. While there are plenty of kits available at your local drugstore, discount store, or grocery store, there are a few things you should keep in mind before opening your wallet. Over the counter kits might be a fit for some patients, however there are times when a professional treatment is more appropriate.
Since your smile is a vital part of your image, we’ve prepared a few helpful tips to help you make the right decision when it comes to developing your teeth whitening goals.
Setting realistic expectations
Unfortunately, many patients often undergo teeth whitening treatments, only to be unsatisfied because their goals weren’t reached. As research has found, people’s definitions of white smiles have been changing the past few years. Ronald Perry, director of Gavel Center for Restorative Research at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine found that most people view yesterday’s white as today’s yellow.
With Photoshop and other editing suites, the media today is filled with unrealistic images of people, often causing misconceptions which can cause short and long-term damage. Before you start any whitening regimen, you should have a basic understanding of the treatments and lifestyle changes they require. As a rule of thumb, you should not expect a “Hollywood Smile” from whitening, most celebrity smiles are porcelain veneers.
How it works
Teeth whitening treatments work by releasing a chemical into the tooth enamel in order to set off a reaction. Professional dental treatments and over the counter kits use a hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide based bleaching agent to whiten the teeth.
The most effective type of treatment on the market is through your dentist, this is simply because anyone not a dentist does not have access to prescription strength whitening formulas .Over the counter trays also can be effective, however since they’re not custom fitted, they might not be as comfortable.
When the agent touches the teeth, the process of oxygenation and diffusion begins. It might sound scary, but those two terms are a fancy way of saying that the treatment pushes the stain particles off the teeth.
Since everyone is different, the length of tooth whitening procedures depends on the stubbornness of the stain, how long it has been on the tooth, and the type of stain. Once the treatment is complete, you can expect a difference of 8 to 12 shades, however that’s only if you follow the directions correctly.
Foods to avoid
You’ll want to avoid the following types of food Immediately after you begin whitening your teeth:
- Staining foods: Tomato sauces, blueberries, dark chocolate, spinach, and certain soups
- Dark beverages: Dark soft drinks, coffee, tea, and red wine
- Acidic foods: Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, pineapple, vinegar, pickles and soft drinks
- Cold food and drinks: For up to 36 hours after you finish your treatment your teeth might be more sensitive to temperature changes. If you really want to have ice cream, yogurt, and other cold snacks, you should let them reach room temperature.
The importance of expert advice
One of the worst mistakes anyone can make when they’re using tooth whitening products is overdoing it. When overdone, tooth whitening cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Wxperts commonly refer to teeth whitening addictions as bleachorexia.
Remember, bleachorexia isn’t a common condition and it’s easy to prevent. In order to stay healthy, it’s important to set realistic teeth whitening goals before you start your treatments. The best way to do this is to consult a dental professional who can explain your options and help you choose the best one. While it’s tempting to just go out and try a kit, choosing something which doesn’t work can be worse than not doing anything at all.
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