Are your teeth as white as you’d like them to be? If not, consider booking an appointment with your dentist ASAP to get your smile in shape for Valentine’s Day and the upcoming spring season.
Five Reasons Why You Should Consider Professional Teeth Whitening
Confidence – a great smile boosts your self-assurance and makes you feel great. Research indicates that others respond with enthusiasm to an attractive smile as well, 68% of Americans think that people who smile are more trustworthy, confident, and approachable, and 76% say that a smile is the physical trait that they notice first.
Mood enhancer - if you’re happy with how your smile looks, you’ll almost certainly smile more often, and that will give you even more reasons to smile. Studies show that smiling causes a chemical reaction in the brain that releases happiness hormones such as dopamine (known to increase a sense of well-being) and serotonin ( associated with reduced stress). In one study of 3878 participants across 19 countries, researchers found that there was a noticeable increase in happiness from people who mimicked smiling photographs or “pulled their mouth toward their ears.” Obviously, there are some things a smile cannot fix, and no one wants to go around with a fake grin plastered on their face all of the time, but know that smiling can lift your mood when you need a boost.
Better health – Smiling can help build a stronger immune system, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, and even reduce pain. When you’re stressed out, your brain prompts your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, that are very useful in helping you to fight the threat or run away from it very quickly. These responses don’t always work well in solving modern problems. But with no fight-or-flight option to burn off adrenaline and cortisol, these hormones can take a toll on your body by prioritizing functions necessary for immediate survival over those needed for long-term wellness. As noted above, you’re more likely to smile when you feel good about your teeth.
Immediate gratification – professional teeth whitening is a fast procedure that produces results right away. If you made some self-improvement goals in January, you might need a little encouragement around now to keep working out, making healthy food choices, or taking better care of your health. Walking out of your dentist’s office with a much improved smile can give you the encouragement you need to keep on making positive changes.
Impress people – Real self-worth comes from within, but chances are you want to connect with people too. Multiple studies prove that an attractive smile is a perfect way to make a great first impression and keep the good vibes going. Plus, people tend to return a smile, which makes them feel good (see mood enhancer above). They’ll associate those happy emotions with being around you. And multiple research studies also show that smiling people are perceived to be cooler than those who look angry or apathetic.
How does teeth whitening work?
You may be able to brighten your teeth by a shade or two using over-the-counter (OTC) products, but a professional whitening treatment typically provides better results. Talk to your dentist to see which type of whitening treatment is best for you.
In Office: Your dentist applies a peroxide gel to your teeth and then activates the solution via a high-intensity light. This takes about an hour and depending on the condition of your teeth, the sensitivity of your gums, and your desired results, you may need more than one appointment to complete the treatment. The average cost is $450-$600.
At Home: Your dentist will custom-fit a set of “whitening trays” (flexible molds which you’ll place over your teeth) or will provide you with a kit that contains the trays and a peroxide gel. The whitening product used is typically weaker than the one utilized in the dentist’s office but more powerful than an over-the-counter product. Typically, you’ll wear the trays for 4-8 hours daily over the course of ten days. Average cost is $400-$500.
Over-The-Counter: The products you purchase over the counter will be weaker than ones intended for professional use, as exposure to high-strength peroxide can damage your gums (your dentist will protect your gums with a shield or gel when doing a whitening treatment). Check with your hygienist for product recommendations and how long you should wait after the cleaning before using a whitening treatment.
Do ask your dentist for advice before trying at home whitening products if you've had restorative treatments such as bonding, veneers, crowns, fillings in the front of your teeth, or if your teeth are badly stained. Do-it-yourself whitening treatments can damage previous dental work or create unevenly colored teeth. Your dentist may also advise you not to whiten your teeth if you have gum disease, fragile dental enamel, especially sensitive teeth, or specific medical conditions.
How do I keep my teeth white?
Shortly after whitening, your tooth enamel is extra absorbent, so be careful about what you drink and eat in the week following your treatment. Obvious things to avoid include coffee, tea, cola drinks, and red wine, but be aware that foods such as ketchup, soy sauce, or foods containing colorful spices such as turmeric or saffron can also stain your newly whitened teeth. It's also best to avoid acidic or icy cold foods and drinks, as your gums and teeth will likely be sensitive after a whitening treatment. Follow your dentist’s aftercare guidance.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Whitening?
Dental insurance typically does not provide coverage for cosmetic treatments such as whitening. But many dental savings plans do offer reduced rates on cosmetic care. The average discount is 20% off professional whitening treatments from the thousands of dentists nationwide who accept dental savings plans.
Dental savings plans also provide savings of 10-60% on a wide variety of dental care —including cleanings, checkups and x-rays, as well as restorative treatments. If you’d like to learn more about how dental savings plans work, please reach out to us at 1-833-735-0399.