Should I Whiten My Teeth?

A patient asks our Wickford dentist about this popular cosmetic dental treatment.

Today starts a new series of blogs focussing on typical questions that we’ve received at the Cygnet Dental Practice in Essex from time to time. The ones selected are the ones which we feel may be of general interest to our patients from across the local area. Naturally, all patient information is treated in the strictest of confidence and some generalisations may be made to protect this privacy.

Q. Having divorced a while ago, I felt that it was time to seek a partner again. It wasn’t an easy decision as my confidence had been knocked somewhat. Some of my work colleagues have discreetly suggested that it might be a good idea to have my teeth whitened (I am a long term smoker) as it will make my smile more attractive. Can you explain what this entails please and if you think it is worth me having this done?

To answer your point; first of all you mention long term smoking but don’t indicate if you do still smoke or not? If you do, You should be aware that whilst a teeth whitening treatment will be beneficial, if you smoke afterwards, you will have a period where your teeth are nicely white, but this will revert eventually with the tar in cigarettes re-staining your teeth. Smoking is also a known factor in both gum disease and oral cancers, as well as general health concerns.

Presuming that you have stopped smoking though, there are two key methods of whitening your teeth. The choice of this will be decided following an examination and will depend on the severity of staining. The more straightforward of these is a simple home teeth whitening procedure. This involves the creating of trays which fit securely over your teeth and into which a whitening gel is placed and left on your teeth for a few hours at a time in the comfort of your home. Within a short period of time, you will notice a significant difference to the brightness of your teeth.

The other option which might be a better option, if your staining is severe, is to have dental veneers fitted. This is a slightly more invasive procedure that normally involves replacing a fine layer from the front of your teeth with an equivalent porcelain veneer.

Both of these options will certainly improve the appearance of your teeth and will last for some time. Veneers should remain white for many years as they are non porous although continuing to smoke will stain them over time. A teeth whitening procedure will not remain white for as long but will be effective for several months and can be repeatedly topped up without negative consequences for your teeth.

As to whether this will help in your quest for a new partner; we certainly can’t guarantee this but the likelihood is that it may well help. It is widely accepted that a nice smile is something that potential partners notice very quickly and should at least get you off to a good start. Personal confidence can also be given a boost by nicer looking teeth.

We recommend arranging a consultation with one of our Essex cosmetic dentists at the Cygnet Dental Practice to discuss your options and to gain a better understanding of the difference these treatments can make. Please call us today on 01268 733078.