You know that taking care of your teeth and gums is crucial to your oral and overall health. That’s why you brush at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush, floss at least daily, and visit your dentist at least twice a year for a comprehensive dental exam and professional cleaning.
But once you’re past the basics of good dental care, you probably want to improve the look of your teeth, too. No matter how carefully you’ve followed oral health recommendations, over time, your teeth start to look yellow or dingy due to the gradual thinning of the protective enamel layer.
However, aging isn’t the only cause of dull, stained-looking teeth. Even when you’re young, you can lose your smile’s luster if you’re in the habit of drinking, eating, or smoking anything that causes stains, such as:
Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dental science that lets you improve the look of your teeth and the brilliance of your smile. The #1 most popular cosmetic dental treatment is professional tooth whitening.
Addie Chang, DMD, an expert family and cosmetic dentist, offers in-office and at-home professional teeth whitening treatments at her clinic in Tukwila, Washington. Following are some reasons why professional teeth whitening is the go-to procedure to turn on the brilliance of your smile.
When you’re ready to improve your smile, you probably don’t want to wait weeks to see results. You’re also too busy to add another hour of self-care to your day to apply your DIY brands of store-bought whiteners that only lighten your teeth by a few shades.
In contrast, a professional whitening session usually takes under an hour. Then, depending on your needs, Dr. Chang applies a professional-grade whitener of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
She only leaves the whitener on for about 15 minutes and may accelerate whitening with a blue LED light. She then repeats the process 3-4 times.
By the time your whitening treatment is over, your teeth may be up to eight shades lighter. You go from blah to brilliant in about the time it normally takes you to go out to lunch.
Dull, dingy, or yellow teeth are associated with older age simply because your teeth most likely thin out by the time you’re in your middle years or more. Most middle-aged to older people have yellow teeth because the enamel isn’t thick enough to disguise the grayish tinge of the inner tooth, known as dentin.
When you professionally whiten your teeth by up to eight shades, however, you turn back time on your teeth. Instead of looking like the “natural” teeth of someone in their mid years, your teeth have the clean, white sparkle of youth.
A bright smile makes you look instantly younger. And, because you’re now proud of your smile, you probably flash it more often, which adds to the perception of youth and confidence.
According to a 2019 perception study by Kelton for Invisalign®, teeth are the #2-remembered facial detail after meeting someone for the first time. Only the eyes make a stronger first impression than a smile.
In addition, the 1,047 survey respondents said that white, straight teeth made people seem:
When you brighten up your smile, you brighten up your entire life. So much so 87% surveyed said they’d give up “something” for a year to have a great smile.
After we professionally whiten your teeth, we recommend a professional in-home kit for periodic touch-ups. Unlike store-bought kits, these won’t cause tooth sensitivity or harm your gums.
In most cases, we also recommend a whitening session every year or two. You must give up drinking coffee and tea to avoid developing stains again.