Teeth Whitening for Your Graduation Photos
You’ve worked hard the past four years, and now you’re eager to walk across that stage, accept your diploma, and turn to the camera for a photo on one of the most important days of your life. To help you smile with confidence when the shutter goes off, consider having teeth whitening performed before graduation day.
Facts About Teeth Whitening
If you’re interested in making your teeth a few shades whiter, there are a few things you should know first.
Whitening is effective for both extrinsic and intrinsic stains
Extrinsic stains are caused by eating and drinking highly staining foods. Intrinsic stains describe discoloration that occurs beneath the enamel. This may be caused by aging, taking antibiotics, developing cavities, ingesting excess fluoride, and more.
Simply brushing your teeth can reduce extrinsic stains, but you need a “bleaching” product to address intrinsic stains. Both over-the-counter and professional bleaching products are available.
Whiteners can make your teeth sensitive
Temporary sensitivity is normal after having your teeth whitened. Your gums may also become irritated for a time, causing mild discomfort. In most cases, these side effects dissipate quickly and don’t return. However, in rare instances, bleaching products can cause severe pain or even permanent damage. Speak with your dentist before whitening your teeth to ensure you understand the risks involved.
Whitening only works on natural tooth enamel
If you have tooth-colored restorations—including fillings, crowns, and veneers—whitening will fail to brighten them. You probably did a color match to help these additions blend with your natural teeth, but after you have whitening done, your fillings, crowns, and veneers will look discolored. Therefore, this might not be the right option if you have had extensive dental renovation work.
Whiteners can be abrasive
The next time you visit the oral care aisle at the drug store, check out how many teeth whitening products are available. You’ll come across dozens of options, all of which claim to deliver pearly white teeth. However, some can be overly abrasive. If you go with this over-the-counter route, read labels carefully and only choose products with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
Using more than directed may damage your teeth and gums
When it comes to whitening your smile, less is more. You could damage your teeth and gums if you use too much whitener or leave products in your mouth longer than intended. Always follow the directions carefully, and don’t attempt to get more from a product than it was designed for.
Teeth Whitening Options
You know you want a brighter smile, but you’re not sure which whitening products work the best. Your three main options include whitening toothpaste, over-the-counter strips and trays, and in-office whitening. Each one has its benefits, but for the fastest, most noticeable, and longest-lasting results, nothing beats in-office whitening.
You can find toothpaste with bleaching ingredients, including hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, without a prescription. These can slightly whiten your teeth over several months and years of use, but they can’t provide improvement beyond a shade or two. Still, whitening toothpaste is a good way to maintain a bright smile after having professional teeth bleaching performed.
Beyond toothpaste, you can find other whitening products in the oral care aisle. These are inexpensive compared to in-office whitening, but they have some serious drawbacks.
For instance, trays are offered as a one-size-fits-all solution, which isn’t practical. Strips also tend to move easily, causing uneven whitening unless you adjust them constantly. There’s also no gum protection, which can lead to sensitivity or even burns in severe cases. Then, the whitening process is slow, taking a few days or even weeks to be complete.
When graduation day is coming up, and you want drastically whiter teeth for your photos, opt for in-office whitening. Not only can this be completed in a single session, but it whitens your teeth by several shades at once thanks to higher concentrations of professional bleaching agents. Gum and eye protection ensure the laser-activated whitening agents only target your teeth, removing years of intrinsic and extrinsic stains in mere minutes.
Keep Your Teeth White
After graduation day is over, you still want your teeth to be sparkling white. Help the effects of in-office whitening last longer with these tips.
Avoid staining foods and drinks
Soda, red wine, coffee, tea, and berries are known for staining teeth. Then, acidic foods including citrus fruit and pickles wear away your enamel, making your teeth appear yellow. Limit how much you eat and drink these things. If you must indulge, rinse your mouth with water immediately after to help avoid staining.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco
You already know these habits are bad for your health. They also stain your teeth, so if you’ve been looking for a good excuse to quit, the perfect time is right after whitening your teeth.
Practice good oral hygiene
Remember to brush morning and night—preferably with whitening toothpaste to help maintain your recently bleached teeth. Floss once a day as well, and get regular checkups at the dentist to ensure an overall healthy mouth.
It feels good to smile with confidence, especially on graduation day, but be smart about how you whiten your teeth. Talk to your dentist before trying any over-the-counter products, and seriously consider in-office whitening for its higher degree of safety and superior results. To learn more about professional teeth whitening in Boulder, CO, please call Dr. Ania’s office today at (303) 872-9940.