We all know the importance of the first impression. If you leave a good first impression when introducing yourself, either on business or private occasion, it will certainly have a positive impact on the attitude of the other person towards you. It will certainly nudge the conversation in the desired direction and have you feeling more confident. The problem with first impressions is that we only have one chance to make it a good one. So it pays to make sure that your strongest ally in interpersonal relations, your smile, shines proudly when you need it most.
"Having healthy and beautiful set of teeth is extremely important in dealing with people. Having good looking white teeth contributes to confidence, which leads to success and personal satisfaction. Teeth can be whitened with several methods that are equally effective. Faster - more aggressive (Zoom lamp) or slower - with less aggressive invasive material. Teeth whitening is not harmful to your teeth, nor does it damage or weaken the tooth enamel and gums. On the contrary, a proper bleaching procedure can further strengthen tooth enamel. Cost of treatment depends on the chosen method and the number of teeth being whitened because one doesn’t have to whiten all teeth if it isn’t necessary. All whitening methods we use aren’t painful or demanding to the patient, and produce great results! The colour of teeth can also be changed with applying veneers (ceramic or Zircon). Veneers, in addition to changing the colour, can also be used to correct the position, shape or size of the tooth."
— Dr. Maja Mimica Kolak, dentist
Since we are all born with naturally white teeth, it is good to understand the reasons why your teeth gradually assume a yellowish colour and the factors influencing this change. Loss of teeth whiteness is a natural process driven by aging and gradual thinning of tooth enamel. The thinner and weaker your enamel is, it will show more of the yellowish colour of tooth tissue, as well as dark layers and spots left by certain food. Most responsible for ugly dark-brown spots and other teeth discoloration, besides irregular dental hygiene, are products such as coffee, cigarettes, sodas and coloured juices, soy, some teas, and even red wine. While for the enamel itself sugar is the most dangerous product. Especially in its forms that are retained longer in the mouth such as sugary soft drinks and artificial sweeteners.
With today's pace of life it is practically impossible to maintain a brilliant set of white teeth, so more and more people are turning to various methods of teeth bleaching. Proponents of "natural medicine" try to restore the natural teeth whiteness by using baking soda, lemon or orange peel, rubbing birch bark or ash, strawberries, and even sea salt and apple vinegar. They will, unfortunately, be quickly disappointed by the weak effect of natural products which can’t compensate for negative impact on teeth colour of coffee, cigarettes and artificial dyes. Others, who, for whatever reason, avoid going to the dentist will try to solve the yellowish teeth problem with specialized toothpastes and costly kits for whitening at home. Prices of those methods vary as well as their effects. Toothpastes contain very little active element for bleaching – hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, and they don’t achieve visible results. There are also commercially available products and tapes for home teeth whitening that can achieve a somewhat longer-lasting effect. Dentists recommend using specialized toothpaste to maintain the colour after professional treatment in a dental clinic, but not as a primary means of whitening.
Whitening strips are used for 7 days / 30 minutes a day and can whiten your teeth for a few shades, but the results of this complicated procedure don’t last longer than 6 months on average. Home whitening method that provides reliable performance is to use masks for your teeth at night. If you choose that method you would order a personalized dental gel containing hydrogen peroxide and apply it every night in a special splint to hold in the mouth during sleep. The disadvantage of this method is the risk of gums and teeth oversensitivity as well as enamel thinning.
Because of the risk of negative effects that can be caused by tooth whitening at home professional treatments offered in dental clinics are certainly the safest option. Dental whitening treatments by chemical means should be distinguished from mechanical polishing procedures such as sand blasting which removes surface plaque. This is a necessary first step of a quality whitening procedure but by itself will not achieve a visible difference in colour. For professional teeth whitening dentists use gels on the basis of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. Activation of the gel frees the oxygen which enters the enamel, removes stains and changes teeth colour for several shades towards perfect whiteness. In order to stimulate the release of oxygen into the enamel the chemical process of whitening gels must be activated by light or heat, depending on the chosen method.
There are two popular methods of professional tooth whitening; they are Zoom lamp technology and laser bleaching. Both methods use light to activate the hydrogen peroxide gel and the whitening effect is achieved with the first treatment. The prices are also similar for both treatments, and each dental clinic will recommend the treatment for which they have the most positive experience and equipment. In "Zoom" method, after the initial polishing of the teeth, the gel is applied to both dental arches while the rest of the gums and gingival tissue are specially protected. Then the gel is activated by strong ultraviolet Zoom lamp that releases oxygen and generates significant heat. This procedure takes between 40 and 60 minutes and its effect will be visible for 6 months to a year, depending on your lifestyle and eating habits.
"In my clinic, we prefer using the ZOOM 2 method for a teeth whitening. Many studies have shown that use of the ZOOM 2 lamp increases the effectiveness of whitening gels more than 26%, which enables up to eight shades of whitening. The entire procedure takes about an hour. It begins with preparation for bleaching (cleaning and protection) after which the whitening procedure itself takes about 45 minutes. Teeth colour achieved with this process can be retained for over two years with proper dental care. It largely depends on your personal habits such as smoking and drinking coffee, tea, wine, etc. But your teeth will always be brighter than before. As for potential side effects, some patients may experience slight tooth oversensitivity during treatment and ZOOM 2 light produces heat which is the usual source of discomfort. Those side effects end shortly after completion of treatment, within 24-48 hours at worst. Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is without risk. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic procedure available."
— Dr. Željka Stolar, dentist
The second, the so-called "laser" methods have the same effect, but with the difference that instead of hot ultraviolet light to activate the gel dentist is using a cold light from specialized LED lamps or lasers. In this method the process is shorter - 30 minutes and is completely painless. The treatment is followed by impregnation of enamel with fluoride. Prices of laser and Zoom treatments range from £250 to £400, while the cost of self-whitening strips is about £200, and slightly less for over-night whitening treatments.
After successful completion of the bleaching treatment, to keep your teeth white you should maintain healthy habits such as regular dental hygiene and avoidance of coffee, cigarettes, soft drinks and other sweet foods that adversely affect the colour of teeth. Also, it is important to know that excessive bleaching (more than twice a year) can cause oversensitivity of teeth and in some cases permanently damage the tooth enamel. We especially don’t recommend using home whitening products that have not been approved by a dentist.
We hope that you found this article helpful and that we might have encouraged you to take the first step to healthy teeth and a dazzling smile. Feel free to contact us for recommendation of affordable dental clinics in Croatia and to find the best treatment available.