Everyone wishes to get a brighter and whiter smile. No one wants to end up with yellowing teeth. Most people are willing to spend thousands of dollars in order to get the brightest smile possible with the assistance of cosmetic dentistry. Indeed, we’ve come a long way from the days when yellowing teeth was the norm and having a complete set of teeth after puberty is optional.
Is It a Good or Bad Idea?
They’re even willing to go through great lengths in what’s essentially a process that involves bleaching teeth, which involves using a bleaching agent onto your teeth, then exposing it to light to enact a bleaching effect onto it. Yes, you’re basically putting bleach in your mouth to make your teeth whiter (though in fairness, this is usually done with a dental dam or mouth-guard-like bleaching tray). You can go in-office or at-home bleaching treatments as well.
The rewards for bleaching teeth are immense. This is why all Hollywood (or Bollywood) actors do it as well as all the rich and famous people out there who can afford it. It makes you more attractive. It’s a tremendous confidence booster. It gives you something to maintain, thus encouraging healthier habits and overall good oral hygiene. However, there are downsides to this, including high costs and potential dangers (like tooth sensitivity after the operation).
General Advantages of Bleaching Teeth
Here are the most obvious advantages to having your teeth bleached regardless of the type of bleaching or whitening process you use.
- Appearance Improvement: People with whiter, cleaner smiles tend to convey an aura of confidence, which is always attractive in a person as long as they don’t overdo it and showcase an impression of arrogance. What’s more, aesthetically speaking (although that’s a subjective factor), people with complete smiles with the whitest teeth tend to be more beautiful or handsome in appearance.
- Great Smiles Are Linked to Health, Confidence, and Beauty: There’s something compelling, appealing, trustworthy, and charming about a person with a great smile. It’s this improved appearance and appeal that every person who wants their teeth whitened strives to achieve. Smiles are almost always associated with health, beauty, and a fit lifestyle (as opposed to someone with imperfect or missing teeth that’s typically homeless or a poor person). Remember, a smile is an instant face-lift of sorts.
- Fit in Better with Society: In today’s image-conscious world, the best way you can avoid getting left out is to have a bright smile and clean teeth. What’s more, you will tend to smile more and more often to show it off, which translates to you giving out a good impression to those around you. That’s the miracle of bleaching teeth in action right there. You’ll feel less self-conscious and you’ll tend to give off an air of friendliness almost effortlessly.
- Brings Good First Impressions: Remember, first impressions last. So make it a good one with a flashy smile. People tend to congregate around other people that make them feel at ease and safe. By having a bleached smile (and learning how to smile so that it won’t look like some sort of creepy leer or smug smirk), you’re telling the whole world that you’re a dependable, honorable, and truthful kind of good person.
- Confidence Booster: The more you succeed the more confident you’ll feel about yourself and your abilities, which is why the most successful people tend to be the most confident as well. While some might say that the idea of confidence bringing in success is like putting the wagon before the horse, you still need confidence in order to attempt endeavors that might lead to success. You’ll also need confidence in order to deal with failure with grace rather than in discouragement.
- Takes Attention Away from Facial Flaws: There’s a reason why a good smile can make even old people look younger by 10 to 20 years. That bright, beautiful smile that has been achieved by bleaching teeth in a meticulous fashion serves as a means to take attention away from your facial imperfections like liver spots, jowls, crow’s feet, laugh lines, and other wrinkles. A winning smile can make all the difference in making you look and feel younger, more beautiful, and dazzling when all is said and done.
General Disadvantages of Bleaching Teeth
In turn, here are the general disadvantages to expect when it comes to teeth bleaching and whatnot. There are risks and perils that lurk behind even the most winning of smiles.
- Dental Insurance Coverage (Or Lack Thereof): If your company or private dental insurance offers coverage for cosmetic dentistry, then congratulations. You’re one of only a few fortunate people with insurance policies that are generous enough to offer coverage for bleaching teeth. The majority of them doesn’t and view teeth whitening as a self-indulgent luxury at best. Even if it is covered, you’re likely paying bigger premiums for the privilege.
- Out of Pocket Expense: Because of the lack of insurance coverage (it’s certainly outside the scope of Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, plans to repeal it under the Trump Administration notwithstanding), the act of bleaching teeth will typically be paid at full cost by you. You’ll have to really save up for it if you want it or find cheaper alternatives to instant gratification (at-home services versus an in-office visit).
- Only Certain People Can Be Tooth Whitening Candidates: You might not even be a tooth whitening candidate. If you have restored teeth, you can’t avail of bleaching services because they can get damaged by the bleach. Ditto with patients who have intrinsic stains in the dentin and tooth material that can’t be removed by simply bleaching the enamel. According to the American Dental Association, only yellow-hued teeth due to food stains are receptive to bleaching.
- Results Aren’t Permanent: Regardless of the tooth whitening service you’ve availed of, your teeth won’t be permanently white. You still have to brush them to maintain their whiteness or else you’ll have to bleach them again. The constant cycle of eating food will result in them getting stained, gathering plaque, getting tartar, and so forth. If you want it to last, you have to maintain good dental hygiene. You might need to do it every few years or every six months, depending on your oral hygiene and diet.
- Diet Change and Food Avoidance: Certain foods and drinks should be avoided now that you have whiter teeth or else you’ll stain it instantly like an ink blot to bond paper. Avoid stain-causing berries, coffee, red wine, soy sauce, and any tannin-rich foods. Acidic foods will also cause stains and even tooth decay on your potentially compromised teeth that has been repeatedly soaked in strong chemicals, so don’t try your luck with them.
- It Simply Doesn’t Work: Whether you try out whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, bleaching trays and gels, or in-office laser whitening solutions, it just doesn’t work. Whitening teeth isn’t for everybody. Maybe your teeth aren’t receptive to the technique or maybe you have intrinsic stains from a dead tooth or teeth. Maybe it’s time for prosthodontics instead to cover up your graying or dead teeth. Ditto with teeth that have been discolored by drugs like tetracyclines or excessive exposure to fluoride in the water supply.
Specific Advantages of Bleaching Teeth
With that said, here are some specific advantages available when it comes to teeth bleaching that you should definitely take into consideration.
- At-Home Bleaching Are More Convenient: Instead of having to drive to the dental clinic every time just to get your teeth bleached, you can do it yourself at the comfort of your own home and at your own schedule. This saves you money on gas and time. Even if the clinic is walking distance, it’s better to buy whitening strips or a bleach tray one time versus multiple visits to your dental doctor.
- At-Home Bleaching Is Safer: There’s been anecdotal evidence to suggest that certain in-office bleaching services have strong bleach chemicals. It’s important to note that there’s a risk of gum and tooth sensitivity as a side effect of putting on gel that’s 25% hydrogen peroxide plus other chemicals. With home whitening, you’re more in control of the soaking and many of the products (like whitening strips) aren’t as chemically strong as in-office gels.
- At-Home Bleaching Offers More Options: You can go the simple route and brush your teeth with whitening toothpaste plus the appropriate mouthwash. You can also avail of commercial whitening strips that can remove 14 years’ worth of stains from your teeth. You can also have a mix of in-office and at-home services with bleaching trays that necessitate you to get a mold of your mouth before you go about soaking your teeth with custom-fit tray.
- In-Office Whitening Services Are Faster: You can have your teeth whitened significantly in one or two visits. That’s to be expected of in-office laser whitening services that can really jumpstart your teeth whitening from the start. This is because it’s strong chemicals that react to the light (the “laser”) in such a way that its bleaching effect is almost instantaneous. It’s also safer in the sense that you don’t have to soak your teeth in the chemicals for too long (although it’s unsafe in other contexts).
- In-Office Whitening Services Are More Effective: The whitening services of laser whitening or bleaching (which includes brands such as ZOOM! Teeth Whitening, BriteSmile, LaserSmile, KoR Deep Whitening, and Beyond) isn’t only fast-acting. It’s also stronger and more effective than any at-home product, whether it’s whitening strips, bleaching trays, or (of course) whitening toothpaste. This is why it’s so expensive. It simply works a lot better than the cheaper alternatives. It also involves the helping hand of a professional dentist, which is always welcome.
Specific Disadvantages of Bleaching Teeth
As for the specific disadvantages of bleaching teeth, keep note of the following items.
- Expensiveness of In-Office Teeth Bleaching: To bleach teeth is expensive,especially when dealing with deeply stained brownish teeth that won’t go white no matter how many times you brush them. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry takes note that teeth whitening services can be quite costly, with prices ranging from $600 to $1,000 when performed in-office.
- Costliness of At-Home Teeth Whitening: The price tag remains quite worrisome for at-home bleaching kits, which are cheaper but you’ll have to buy them multiple times and apply them for longer periods of time. This means you can run up the bill from $300 to $600 depending on how bad your set of teeth needs bleaching in the first place. A few times might not be enough to get truly gleaming pearly whites. The truly cheap services offer nothing more than teeth cleaning or lower grades of bleaching.
- Teeth and Gum Sensitivity with Laser Teeth Whitening: Laser teeth whitening in particular is a huge culprit when it comes to inducing teeth and gum sensitivity when applying the peroxide gel (as well as canker sores or allergic reactions). This is the reason why the latest iterations of this bleaching teeth operation involve precautions such as dental dams to protect the gums and mouth, thicker gels, limited soaking or exposure, and measured portions so that the teeth aren’t soaked too long on a potentially enamel-weakening compound.
- Over-Soaking Is Dangerous with Custom-Fit Bleaching Trays: Ever seen what happens to chicken bone that’s left to soak in a jar of vinegar for a few weeks? It turns really bendable and breakable after such extensive exposure. Therefore, even though no laser light is being shone onto your teeth when bleaching them through custom-fit bleaching trays, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and avoid over-soaking your teeth with the false impression that they’d come out whiter if you soak them in peroxide gel for longer than usual.
- Whitening Strips and Toothpaste Don’t Work As Well on Severe Yellowing: While all whitening techniques don’t work against intrinsically discolored teeth that have the dead dentin turn your translucent enamel gray, whitening toothpaste and strips are ineffective against severely stained teeth. After all, it’s important to remember that whitening toothpastes merely whiten through fluoride and whitening strips have carbamide peroxide in them at significantly lower concentrations of what you can get from bleaching trays and laser whitening services.
That’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of teeth bleaching. If you have any further questions, just visit the Thantakit International Dental Center’s website for more info.
Thantakit International Dental Center is Thailand’s longest established dental center. Situated in Bangkok, our clinic is renowned across the world as a destination for world-class dentistry, with most of our patients flying to us from Australia.
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