A smile is one of the simplest gestures that we can make, but it can also be one of the biggest. A bright smile is considered a reflection of friendliness, honesty, happiness and health. An attractive smile can be beneficial in social situations, help attract a partner and also make you more confident and outgoing. We are bombarded with pictures of celebrities flashing mega-watt grins, which unfortunately makes many people feel self-conscious about their own smile. These people often try and smile without showing their teeth which can look unnatural and forced.
The enamel covering the teeth can become stained over time for a number of reasons, and as such, teeth whitening is considered to be one of the easiest and most economical ways of enhancing the appeal of your smile.
White teeth are universally considered more youthful largely due to the fact that infant/first teeth are almost always whiter than their adult counterparts. Adult teeth can become stained or discolored for a number of reasons including:
Smoking – one of the biggest contributors to yellowed teeth!
Use of antibiotics as a child/teenager
Exposure to high levels of fluoride
Food/drink containing tannins such as oranges, carrots, red wine and coffee
Trauma to the tooth
Damage to nerve or blood vessels inside the root canal
Genetics – the thickness of the enamel covering your teeth is usually determined by genetics. Thinner enamel can often show the color of the dentin beneath it, giving the tooth a darker appearance.
Ageing – our teeth naturally darken as we get older
There are dozens of products on the market that claim to be able to improve the whiteness of your smile without the need for you to visit your dentist. However,
The most common variety, vital whitening, is able to be performed on teeth with current active nerves and involves whitening the tooth purely on the outside. The whitening product is usually a gel which contains a form of hydrogen peroxide and is applied directly on to the surface of the tooth. Your dentist will then shine a special laser or light onto your teeth, creating a chemical reaction that begins the bleaching.
You can expect vital whitening to take between 30 and 90 minutes and depending on the extent of your staining/the level of whiteness you wish to achieve, you may require between one and three visits to your dentist’s office.