Will whiter teeth make you look and feel better? And how white do you really want your teeth?
This post will help you decide if bleaching your teeth is right for you.
Contact Cranford Dental if you have questions after reading the post. Our Rock Hill, SC patients have had great results with teeth whitening over the past 35 years.
Do I Really Need Whiter Teeth?
As we age, our teeth also age. They yellow slightly and absorb stains from food and drink more easily. The surface enamel gets worn and discolored.
Even patients with excellent hygiene habits may have dark or yellowed teeth. Many factors contribute, including health issues, past and present medications, natural dentin color, smoking and food/drink habits.
The basic structure of your teeth will determine your natural teeth color. Your teeth have a layer of translucent enamel over a dentin layer. Dentin is yellow in color and gets darker with age.
If you find yourself hiding your teeth when you smile – or if you see yellow when you look in the mirror – you should consider whitening your teeth.
Fortunately, teeth bleaching is routine and easy to do. In fact, professional bleaching often gives patients more “bang for the buck” than any other dental procedure.
If you wonder if you would look better with whiter teeth—then YES you really need whiter teeth. Talk to your dentist about bleaching your teeth. This may be a simple way to improve your smile.
Why Should I Whiten my Teeth?
There are many reasons to whiten your teeth:
Improve Self Confidence
Improving your smile can make a difference in how you think about yourself or in how you thank that others perceive you.
At our office, we often hear reports of how a small change can make a big difference in how our patients relate to others. Thankfully, teeth whitening is a small change that leads to big improvements in how you look.
Correct Imperfections in Teeth
Bleaching will help if you have spots or stains on certain teeth that bother you or keep you from smiling.
Bleaching will remove stains or make them seem to disappear. Thus your smile will be more uniform.
Make Teeth Color More Uniform
Some patients have darker teeth on either top teeth or bottom teeth. Bleaching will give teeth a more uniform look.
Begin Dental Treatment Plan
Consider bleaching your teeth if you are about to get crowns, veneers, bridges, or other dental treatment.
Since bleaching only works for natural teeth, it is best to bleach your teeth to your ideal color before beginning a smile makeover. The dentist will match the dental work to the color of the teeth in your mouth.
View Cranford Dental’s gallery to see the results of bleaching before cosmetic dental work.
Why Should I NOT Whiten my Teeth?
Teeth whitening works well for most people. This is a low risk procedure which is suitable for patients who have their natural teeth.
Here are reasons why bleaching your teeth may not be the right solution for you:
Intrinsic Stains or White Spots
Whitening may not work if you have a “dead tooth” that looks dark or has white spots. Some stains are from deep in the tooth and may not react to bleaching.
Ask your dentist why your teeth are stained or discolored and if she thinks bleaching will make them whiter.
Teeth Sensitivity or Mouth Pain
Bleaching your teeth may intensify sensations if you are troubled by pain in your mouth. The chemicals in whitening compounds may make the pain worse.
If you have extremely sensitive teeth, Bruxism, or TMJ, talk to your dentist about these problems before you whiten your teeth. She will monitor you closely for signs of pain and sensitivity if you decide to move forward with whitening.
Existing Dental Work
If you have veneers, crowns, or bonding (particularly on front facing teeth), you may not be happy with bleaching results.
The restoration material will not react to bleaching compounds. It may not be possible to make your whitened teeth match your dental work.
If you choose to move forward, be aware that you may end up wanting to change your prior dental work to make your teeth look uniform.
Maintenance and Long Term Care
You are not a candidate for teeth whitening if you want a permanent, maintenance free solution for discolored teeth. To maintain the initial whiteness level, you must repeat the treatment every few months.
Whitening touchups usually work faster than the initial treatment. To touch up, you will add solution to the dental trays from your first bleaching. This will keep your teeth white for as long as you use the trays and bleach solution on your teeth.
Do I Want Really White Teeth?
After you and your dentist decide that teeth whitening is right for you, the next decision is, “How white should I make my teeth?”
Movies and celebrity magazines showing glowing white teeth have changed our culture’s idea of what is pretty and right.
Teeth are not naturally white. Resist insisting on truly white teeth. Rather, know that whitening lightens the color of your teeth so that they appear white.
Dentists want to mimic nature. We know that when teeth are too white they look totally fake. This is not the best look for our patients.Dr. Bill Cranford
Ask your dentist to advise on the amount of white that works best with your gums and natural coloring. Your goal should be a bright but natural looking smile.
How White Can My Dentist Make my Teeth?
Teeth whitening procedures can usually make teeth up to 8 shades lighter than your present teeth color.
Below is a shade guide that is for teeth that have been over bleached or are artificial porcelain. These shades are only possible by crowning or veneering your teeth.
Dental professionals often jokingly refer to these shades as bathroom sink white. Understandably, you do not want teeth that are pure white.
Patients often ask the dentist how bright white he can make their teeth. My answer: We can make them as white as you want them. But we do not recommend doing that.Dr. Bill Cranford
What Shade Should Bleaching Make my Teeth?
Your dentist will guide you to a shade that works best for you.
Tooth color generally falls within shade ranges: red/brown, red/yellow, gray, red/gray. Your dentist will advise you to keep your teeth color in your natural shade range.
To achieve a subtle look, aim for shades two or three times lighter than your current tooth color. It is easier to add more whiteness than it is to reverse if your teeth look too white.
A general rule: Choose a shade that is not whiter than the natural whites of your eyes. Whiter teeth than that stand out and do not look natural.
Below is the most popular dental shade guide of what natural teeth look like. On the far left is shade B1, the lightest natural shade. More often, teeth are to naturally one of the middle shades on the scale.
Compare the natural colors to the white tabs on the ends of the guide. Obviously, you want teeth that fall in this natural color range.
Cranford Dental & Teeth Whitening
Make an appointment at Cranford Dental if you would like to discuss whitening your teeth.
We have had great results with professional teeth bleaching. And from following patients over the past 35 years, we know that they are happy with their smile for a long time.
I can assure you that we (the patient and the dentist working together) can lighten your teeth and brighten your smile.