In an ideal world, we would simply accept the colour of our teeth and get on with our lives. Professional dentists know that healthy teeth come in different shades. But you will not hear them saying that aloud. The reason is our culture.
We are all obsessed with getting our teeth whiter because white is perceived brighter and better in our society. So powerful is this impulse that the teeth whitening sector in Australia was already a $1.5 billion industry in 2014. It must be bigger now because our expectations are rising.
“What was once considered natural white is now yellow to people,” observes Ronald Perry of the Gavel Centre for Restorative Research at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in the United States. Even a shade of yellow is considered an abomination now. The pressure is so great that bleached shades were added to VITA guides several years ago to keep up.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of services and products have appeared to cater to the demand for whiter teeth. In 2017, they can be divided into three categories:
1. Home-based remedies
2. DIY products
3. Dental cosmetic surgery
All of us must have listened to our mothers advising us to rub activated charcoal on the teeth, brush with coconut oil, or apply baking soda on them. These popular and inexpensive domestic remedies, if used on a regular basis, can whiten your teeth in a matter of a few months. What’s more, you rarely spend more than $10 a month.
So, why are not we heeding to the mom’s advice?
First, most home remedies don’t look nice. Here is what happens when you rub charcoal on your teeth.
Second, they are slow. Who wants to wait for a few months when you need whiter teeth for the next week’s party?
A third reason is a lack of evidence that is also a conclusive proof in favour of these remedies. A lot of dentists are of the opinion that home-based remedies are only capable of fixing superficial stains and fail to have much of an effect on deeper marks.
A fourth reason is efficacy. You may be disappointed when your spouse fails to notice the increased brightness—by a shade or two—of your teeth.
That brings us to the second alternative, DIY kits.
Go to a pharmacist or a mall and you will find plenty of over-the-counter strips promising to brighten up your smile. Most of these strips contain hydrogen peroxide, an oxygen releasing chemical. The oxygen thus released reacts with the stains and makes them vanish. You can hire a beautician to apply the teeth whitening strips on you, or you can watch some videos on YouTube explaining how to do it. The strips are popular because they work.
For about $150, you can get whiter teeth in less than seven days. Its application does not consume more than a few minutes each day. It is easy, it is cheap, but it is still far from being universal.
For all their advantages, teeth whitening strips remain a risky bet especially if your product is bought online from an unscrupulous vendor, not approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Organisation (ACCC), or not used according to the instructions.
In fact, since 2011 the ACCC has recalled a number of DIY at-home teeth whitening products because they contained unsafe levels of hydrogen peroxide. The agency recommends against the chemical’s excessive use in a Supplier Bulletin.
Despite expert warnings, many remain are tempted to use more hydrogen peroxide than recommended for quicker results, only to suffer from gum irritation or problems in the oesophagus. Also, a lot of people have super-sensitive teeth which may not like being treated with whitening strips.
Although effective, dental strips are not a panacea. That bring us with the only alternative left: Dental cosmetic surgery.
Dental Cosmetic Surgery
Surgery is probably not the suitable name for a non-invasive treatment that takes less than 60 minutes and can whiten your teeth by up to 12 shades. But it is common so we will stick with it.
Plenty of people opt to getting a teeth whitening treatment at a dentist because it is safer and faster.
Imagine this scenario: You have sensitive teeth that will not react well to a whitening treatment. Using a strip in this case can jeopardise your oral health. Will you want that? Or will you need a dentist to first examine all potential side-effects before proceeding with a treatment? Most people will opt for the latter. And they will be wise.
Consulting a dentist is quicker, too. You can get shinier teeth in less than an hour. Most of Tooth Booth’s patients report 5–7 shades whiter teeth after the treatment.
On top of being safe and fast, a visit to a dentist is not always costly. The key is to ask for one of the multiple finance options available at Tooth Booth.
Home-based remedies are usually ineffective and powerful teeth whitening strips can endanger your oral health. That leaves dentists as the safest and quickest method to brighten your teeth.