Are you in love with your smile? If not, you are not alone – millions of Americans do not like the way their teeth look. Fortunately, you can improve your smile by having your teeth whitened or straightened.
But should you?
The dental squad at Cusp Dental Boutique want to help you make the best decisions possible when it comes to your smile. We’ve helped countless patients determine the best way to boost their oral health and improve their smile.
When trying to decide if you should have your teeth whitened, you should consider a number of factors, such as:
If your teeth are very yellow or discolored, teeth whitening can make a dramatic difference in your cosmetic appearance. If your teeth are only slightly yellowed, teeth whitening can provide a modest improvement or boost.
Professional teeth whitening can lighten the color of teeth by as many as 9 or more shades, but people who bleach their teeth usually see a change of 2 to 7 shades.
Laser or light assisted whitening is the state-of-the-art approach to teeth whitening, lightening teeth up to 10 shades whiter.
Some deeper or intrinsic stains may take more work to get the results you are looking for. Sometimes we have to consider bonding or veneers when the stains are deep rooted or stubborn.
Cost is always an important factor in almost every decision, including whether or not to have your teeth whitened. However, the up-front cost is only part of the story.
The average in-office teeth whitening price is $650, for example, while you can purchase an over-the-counter teeth whitening product for $20 to $100. However, the ingredients in home whitening kits are not as powerful as those used by dentists. This means you can spend much more for over-the-counter teeth whitening and still not whiten your teeth as well as your dentist can.
Many over-the-counter teeth whitening products can increase sensitivity because of the bleaching agent they use to whiten teeth; gum irritation may also occur, especially when too much is used. Those at greatest risk for teeth sensitivity after whitening include people who have receding gums, significant cracks in their teeth, or failing dental work that allows the bleach to leak into the treated tooth. Sensitivity from teeth whitening usually lasts for a day or two, but may persist for up to a month for some people.
While in-office teeth whitening can also cause sensitivity, your dentist can identify oral health conditions that may make your teeth more sensitive and adjust the strength of the teeth whitening accordingly. Your dentist may also recommend a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate, which coats your teeth to close the pores of your teeth to reduce tooth sensitivity and pain.
Teeth whitening will not work on certain dental restorations, such as dental crowns, bonding or veneers. This means the dental restorations will remain their same color while the nearby teeth are whitened; many refer to this effect as “technicolor teeth.” Talk to Dr. Hamlin if you would like to whiten before getting any cosmetic bonding or veneers completed.
It can be hard to decide if you should have your teeth straightened. Unlike teeth whitening that you can do in a few minutes at home or in under an hour at your dentist’s office, teeth straightening can take time.
When deciding whether to have your teeth straightened, consider the following:
If you have one or more teeth that are slightly crooked, you may not need teeth straightening. However, even a slightly crooked tooth can cause dental health issues and detract from your naturally appealing smile. Crooked teeth can also affect how well your teeth are able to be whitened.
It can take between 3 months and 2 years to straighten teeth, depending on the severity of your crooked teeth and the type of teeth straightening you choose.
While metal braces and Invisalign do the heavy lifting of straightening your teeth, your daily habits will play a role in how well your teeth straightening works and how long it will last. To make the most out of your teeth straightening treatment:
But remember, you can have both, straight and white teeth! At Cusp Dental Boutique we like to combine the two!
For more information on whether you should have your teeth whitened or straightened, consult with your dentist at Cusp Dental Boutique, where our passion for people meets state-of-the-art technology to create a dental visit ahead of its time. We offer laser whitening, Invisalign, and other services guaranteed to improve your smile. At Cusp Dental Boutique, we are more than happy to help you determine if teeth whitening or straightening is right for you, and help you choose the best teeth whitening method to fit your needs.