If you are unhappy about the way your teeth look, chances are you avoid smiling, cover your mouth whenever you talk and avoid cameras like the plague. This can severely hinder your confidence levels and make you feel unhappy about your appearance in general.
If it is the colour of your teeth in particular that is getting you down, having your teeth whitened could help to brighten up your smile and increase your confidence. Teeth whitening is used to lighten dark stains on the enamel and dentine to give you a whiter smile. The treatment usually uses a gel with a hydrogen peroxide base and can be done by a dentist or by yourself at home, depending on the severity of the problem.
Whether you opt for a professional or DIY treatment, you will need to see your dentist beforehand to ensure you have no pre-existing issues and that a clean-up and removal of tartar build up won’t be enough on its own.
If you have opted for professional whitening you should have the option of either an in-office treatment or walking treatment. The first treatment is usually carried out at the dentists office where a plastic mouth guard (moulded to the patient’s teeth) is used to hold the whitening gel on the teeth and is left to work for 20-90 minutes depending on the stains. In some cases a light may be used to accelerate the process – this is known as laser bleaching.
A walking treatment involves a session with the dentist and then the treatment is continued at home using a lower dose hydrogen peroxide gel. Results should be visible after 15 days and results can last up to four years if you look after your teeth.
Home teeth whitening involves a slightly less effective treatment using a very low dose hydrogen peroxide gel to be used in the form of strips, mouth guard and gel pen. While these treatments are less effective than professional whitening, they are much more affordable.
To keep your teeth naturally white remember to steer clear from tea, coffee, red wine, liquorice and cigarettes. Use a dark coloured lipstick to make teeth appear whiter and use an illuminator on your skin to bring out your natural sparkle.
If you want to find out more about teeth whitening and find a practitioner near you, please see our Teeth Whitening page.