Teeth Whitening

Value of a Smile

Studies have shown that as a society, we highly value the appearance of our smiles.  A survey completed by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry revealed the following:

  • Adults almost unanimously (99.7%) see a smile as something very important to their overall social life.  On top of that, ninety-six percent of adults think that someone with an attractive and good-looking smile is significantly more attractive to members of the opposite sex.
  • Seventy-four percent of adults view an attractive smile as providing an advantage in the workforce, leaving those with “unattractive” smiles with a lesser chance for success in their careers.
  • The survey included the question, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?”  The most commonly given answer was to have brighter and whiter teeth.  

If you’ve ever been unhappy with the way your smile looks, a great place to start is getting teeth whitening treatment.

Teeth Whitening South Jordan, UT

Each time you smile, you have an instantaneous impact on the people you encounter, whether it be conscious or subconscious. A bright smile portrays you as happy, healthy, youthful and welcoming to those around you. One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to improve and brighten your smile is to receive teeth whitening treatment.

Why Do My Teeth Get Discolored?

You may have noticed that baby teeth (or deciduous teeth) are generally more white than the average adult’s teeth.  Teeth tend to darken with age, becoming yellow and stained.  This is the main reason that white teeth make people look younger.

For every yin, there is a yang.  There are plenty of ways to whiten and bleach your teeth, but there are also many ways to discolor or stain your teeth.  Here are some of the main causes of tooth discoloration:

  • Food and drinks like tea, coffee, and cola can all darken the teeth 
  • A number of fruits and vegetables can also affect the brightness of your teeth, such as apples, potatoes, and carrots
  • Tobacco or drug use
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Certain medication
  • Genetics
  • Advancing age

What Are My Teeth Whitening Options?

There are many ways you can brighten your smile by whitening your teeth.  You can either receive an in-office treatment at a dental practice, or you can try the do-it-yourself approach using some over the counter products.  Both come with advantages and disadvantages.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Receiving professional, in-office teeth whitening treatment has become one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures in the world.  In-office whitening treatment happens under highly monitored conditions to create a controlled, safe, and pain-free experience using high-concentration bleaching gel.  This gel provides immediately visible results. 

Advantages to In-Office Whitening

  • Provides the fastest possible results of any teeth whitening treatment
  • It is the safest method of bleaching teeth
  • Gum and tooth sensitivity are more controlled and neutralized with newer gels

Disadvantages to In-Office Whitening

  • More expensive than take-home solutions - generally costs about 40 percent more than take-home bleach trays.
  • Results are often unpredictable when considering heredity, age, and the various types of stains present on the teeth.
  • Not a permanent solution.  Teeth will resume developing stains and discoloration shortly after the completion of the treatment.  For this reason, dentists will typically suggest a take-home tray with a mild bleach to help maintain the brightness of the teeth.

Stains Best Removed with In-Office Whitening

The stains most easily and effectively removed with in-office whitening procedures are stains and discolorations caused by:

  • Aging - teeth darkened with yellow, green, grey or brown.  Yellow teeth are typically the most easily whitened by this procedure.
  • Food stains, such as red wine, soda, dark fruits/veggies, and coffee.
  • Tobacco

Stains Difficult to Remove by In-Office Whitening

  • Teeth with inorganic stains respond poorly to in-office whitening and can even look darker compared to the surrounding teeth that have responded well to the bleaching treatment.
  • Dentin darkened by trauma.
  • The overexposure to fluoride, which often causes fluorosis, that leads to tooth discoloration.

Take-home bleach trays

If you are in a position where you don’t mind waiting two or more weeks before seeing serious results of your teeth whitening treatment, take-home teeth whitening kits might be the best option for you.  Here are the primary advantages of this option:

  • Comfort - The plastic bleach trays are custom-made to fit your teeth.  The material is thin and comfortably fits in your mouth.  There won’t be any slipping or sliding of these trays, and you don’t have to both with scheduling a dental visit - you simply pop the trays in when it’s convenient for you.
  • Affordability - Prices vary depending on the dentist you go to, but as previously stated, at-home teeth whitening treatment tends to be notably less expensive than in-office treatment.  You’ll pay more money for a take-home kit from your dentist than you will over the counter at a grocery store, but you’ll also get much more use out of the custom trays and gel received from a dentist.
  • Efficiency - The treatment isn’t instantaneous like in-office procedures are, but you will find much quicker results than trying over the counter products can provide.  You may even be able to start seeing results before the estimated two week waiting period.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

Lastly, it’s important to touch on the options you have with over-the-counter products.  While not as effective as in-office or take-home teeth whitening treatments, commercially available teeth whitening products have developed a lot of popularity because of their low cost and convenience.  The most common ones include paint-on tooth gel, whitening strips, mouth trays with bleaching gel, and whitening toothpaste.  If you have any questions about whether or not these products will work for you, consult your dentist to see if those products will be effective and safe for you to use.

Next Steps

Everyone’s situation is different, and what is the best option for you may not be the best option for someone else.  You only have one chance to make first impressions, and your smile has an impression on everyone you meet.  Consult a dentist to determine the teeth whitening solution that makes the most sense for you so you can show off your new and improved smile as soon as possible.

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