Benefits and Risks of Teeth Whitening

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Benefits and Risks of Teeth Whitening

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Our mouths and teeth are our most prominent facial features, and a great smile can be worth a thousand words. Research has suggested that a bright smile can make us more confident, more successful and more likely to find a partner in life. However, many of us feel self-conscious about our teeth and smile, which is one of the reasons that teeth whitening is the number one most popular cosmetic dental treatment in the U.S.

Teeth-whitening is so popular for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at the benefits.

Benefits of Teeth Whitening

- It can make a serious difference to the appearance of your teeth.

- Improved confidence in all areas of your life.

- Improved attractiveness to the opposite sex. A survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to the opposite gender.

- Enhanced opportunities at work. 74% of adults also feel that an unattractive smile can damage a person’s chance of success at work.

- Enhanced social opportunities. A great smile is one of the best first impressions you can make and can make you appear open, friendly and happy.

- White smiles minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles and give you a younger overall appearance.

- White smiles also give the impression of healthiness.

- Teeth whitening is one of the most affordable options for cosmetic dental treatment, although prices vary greatly depending on whether you choose over-the-counter whitening kits, take-home whitening kits, or have the treatment performed in-office.

- Great teeth can improve your overall appearance.

- Teeth whitening is non-invasive, virtually painless, and does not have any harmful side effects.

- Depending on which teeth whitening process you choose, it can be performed in your own home or in the comfort of your dentist’s office is just a short amount of time.

- Teeth whitening requires minimal preparation and fast results.

Risks of Teeth Whitening

While teeth whitening is a non-invasive and virtually painless procedure that is considered extremely safe, there are some risks and considerations that you should be aware of.

- Certain people should not use teeth whitening products. This group includes patients who have teeth that have become transparent as part of the aging process, patients who are sensitive to peroxide or other chemicals used in their chosen teeth whitening treatment, patients who have ultra-sensitive teeth or gums, which may be irritated by the chemicals used in the whitening process and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as not enough research has been done on the effect of whitening agents on unborn or nursing babies.

- Sensitivity of the teeth and gums, particularly if using one of the higher-strength whitening agents.

- Gum irritation.

- Bleaching results cannot be guaranteed and will vary depending on your age, lifestyle, genetics and the initial color and condition of your teeth.

- If bleaching agents seep into your tooth through a crack or unfilled cavity, it can be extremely painful and cause internal tooth damage that may require further treatment such as root canal.

- You may also see uneven results. This is particularly the case if you are using whitening strips and have crooked or overlapping teeth. This is because the strips are not able to ensure that every part of the enamel is reached, which can leave you with some patches that are white than others.

- Teeth whitening is not a permanent fix and how long results will last will vary depending on your age, genetics and lifestyle. Smoking and consuming food/drink that contains tannins - such as red wine, coffee and oranges – can cause stains to return quicker.

- Not all stains can be addressed by teeth whitening. Teeth that have suffered trauma from the inside, have been affected fluorosis and those with inorganic stains may not be affected by whitening at all. You should check with your dentist to find out if the teeth whitening process you choose will be effective before you make a purchase.

- Over-whitening. Some people get a little obsessed with trying to maintain the same level of brightness and over-bleach their teeth which causes irritation and in some cases, pain.

Done properly, teeth whitening is an excellent way to improve your smile, boost your confidence and make you appear happy and healthy. However, before you choose any sort of teeth whitening process, whether over-the-counter, take-home or in the office, we highly recommend that you consult with your dentist to determine whether teeth whitening is suitable for you.