Dental procedures explained… (Not quite sure what your dentist meant? Here it is explained in “layman’s terms”)

Bleaching your teeth

The desire for bleaching or teeth whitening has grown phenomenally in the last few years as cosmetic dentistry has become more of a focus then it was in the past. Instead of dentists primarily focusing on restorative dentistry – restoring the damaged tooth only – they are now starting to spend more time focusing on cosmetic dentistry too – this means looking at ways to restore and improve your smile.

And why is this so important? Well studies have shown that a nice, white, healthy and esthetically pleasing set of teeth improves your smile – a nice smile equals a higher chance of success in life. People with nice smiles and attractive teeth smile more, making them seem happier, more confident, attractive and inspiring creating a positive first impression. These positive attributes lead to higher quality business and personal relationships and networking which creates bigger and better opportunities, generally leading to higher pay and job satisfaction – these perceptions have a powerful influence over most aspects in life and makes you the preferred candidate for opportunities.

Another study shows that a perfect smile can actually make you happier! When you have a great smile you tend to smile more as you are not self-conscious about showing your teeth. When you smile it, triggers the release of stress fighting chemicals and “happy hormones” in the body. These people are therefore, happier, less stressed, more enthusiastic and more productive on a whole…

Cosmetic and restorative dentistry normally come hand in hand with the recommendation, by your dentist, to bleach your teeth – the reason is simple – when the time comes, that you need to get your first restoration, this restoration is going to be created so that it looks identical to your natural teeth…and is a permanent fixture – so it makes sense then, that the remaining teeth should look the best they can before this “replica” is created.

Benefits of bleaching:

People typically have their teeth whitened to improve their appearance. Whiter teeth are associated with beauty and a healthier lifestyle. When people have a brighter smile, as we have previously discussed, they tend to smile more often and are less self-conscious.

In addition, a whiter smile tends to minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles, giving way to a more youthful, energetic and friendlier appearance.

Research indicates that bleaching is completely effective in more than 78% of people. In cases of serious teeth discoloration, bleaching may not be the best choice. Veneers or crowns may be the superior choice. (See our write up on veneers and crowns in the “work” drop down tab on our site)

Bleaching is usually the first solution to try due to its lower cost.

Unfortunately, as mentioned, bleaching is not always an option…

Health 24 says that:
“…since whiteners may not correct all types of discolouration. For example, yellowish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-coloured teeth may bleach less well, and greyish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all.

Likewise, bleaching may not enhance your smile if you have had bonding or tooth-coloured fillings placed in your front teeth. The whitener will not affect the colour of these materials, and they will stand out even more in your newly whitened smile. In such cases, you may want to investigate other options, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding.

Will teeth whiteners damage tooth enamel?

Studies involving 10% carbamide peroxide whiteners have found minimal or no effect on the micro-hardness or mineral content of tooth enamel surfaces. Scanning electron microscope studies of the enamel of teeth that have been bleached have typically not shown any damage either. In relative terms, studies have shown that exposure to soft drinks and fruit juices cause comparable or greater alteration of tooth enamel than do tooth whiteners.”

Bottom line – Talking to your dentist is the safest option as he or she will be able to tell you whether this type of treatment will be effective or not.

And if you are having your first restoration, and your Dentist recommends bleaching – don’t brush it off as up-selling, you now know why this is so important… Similarly, if you are having your first restoration done and your dentist doesn’t bring it up, chat to him or her and see if the option is available to you as your restoration is permanent – and you want the best smile you can have!