While the majority of people are able to speak to friends and family with an abundance of confidence and flourish in social situations, others hide behind the outspoken nature of their friends and avoid opening their mouth at all costs.
Although some individuals would put this down to shyness, it is not uncommon for this type of person to be suffering from an extremely low self-esteem that has developed as a result of an unattractive smile.
This, coupled with an added focus on celebrity lifestyles in the British media, has resulted in many people criticising their own appearance, as they are constantly comparing themselves to the rich and famous.
Luckily, the emergence of cosmetic dentistry treatment has provided a lifeline for people hoping to improve their smiles, while its increasing accessibility is resulting in thousands finally being able to enjoy a better quality of life.
This process removes stains and discolouration from pearly whites through a bleaching process to make them appear brighter. Those teeth that are severely affected by eating too many sugary foods or smoking can be improved with a scale and polish treatment.
The majority of dental clinics provide two types of whitening treatment:
Both courses of action are based on a bleaching process that utilises a peroxide-based gel of varying strength. A higher concentration gel is more likely to provide better aesthetic results, but can also cause side effects such as sensitivity and damage to gum tissue.
With this course of action, patients are asked to book an appointment at their dental practice to undergo the whitening process, which uses a light-activated bleaching gel to bring about a brighter smile.
Taking between one and two hours to carry out, laser tooth whitening produces instant results.
Before undergoing this course of action, individuals will attend a consultation with their dental practitioner to ensure they are suitable to receive the treatment.
If given the green light, patients will then undergo a thorough tooth cleaning that will remove any surface stains and tartar – which is known as a scale and polish.
Following this, the dentist will make a record of the shade of the pearly whites before the procedure is carried out by using a guide and taking a digital photograph of the mouth.
Because the bleaching compound contains a high concentration of peroxide, the practitioner will usually place some form of protection around the gums to ensure only the teeth are exposed to the compound – this is extremely important to avoid any potential damage or burning.
In addition, eye goggles are also provided to prevent harming the eyes due to the laser or accidental splashes of peroxide.
The whitening gel is then applied to the surface of the pearly whites and exposed to a light, which activates the substance. If patients experience a burning sensation to their lips or gums during this procedure, they should immediately inform their dentist.
After around 15 minutes, the compound is removed and the process repeated on two more occasions and the dentist will finally wash off the gel when this is complete.
Initially, the results are quite dramatic and can often be ten times lighter.
Dental professionals will create a mould of the individual’s teeth using a special putty in order to create a home whitening kit. Following this, the cast will be used to create a model of the pearly whites from plaster and make teeth whitening trays from this.
Once the trays have been created – which usually takes between five and ten days – patients use them in combination with professional whitening gel that is provided by their dentist until they are satisfied with the results.
Some individuals are, unfortunately, unsuitable for teeth whitening – but this is usually determined during an initial consultation. Those people who have gum disease or other dental problems are also unlikely to qualify for the treatment.
The process does not change the colour of crowns, veneers or fillings – so individuals should understand these too may need to be altered to match the colour of their new pearly whites.