If you have a tendency of hiding your smile, you’re not alone.
More than 30% of people hide their smile in photographs. But, as an entrepreneur, you really can’t afford to be among that 30%. A good smile can make you appear more intelligent, interesting, successful, and wealthy to others.
An independent study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) found that “three-quarters (74%) of adults feels an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chances for career success.”
One of the top reasons people hide their smile is that their teeth are stained.
Fortunately, there are many ways to remedy that particular problem and ensure that your smile helps you open the doors to your success.
The DIY Approach
Since white teeth are more popular than ever, there are more over-the-counter whitening products than ever. How do you choose? Dr. Charles Sutera, FAGD, one of the nation’s top experts on dental care and aesthetics, shares his insights on the topic of healthy, attractive and whiter teeth.
The 15-minute rule: All teeth whitening products must be in stable contact with the teeth for at least 15 minutes without getting diluted or washed away. That means you can ignore the rinses and other products that are likely to wash away as soon as they’re applied.
Also, since whitening solutions can irritate and even burn your gums, you should minimize contact with your gums—which makes strips or tray systems your best bet for at-home optimal whitening.
Avoid abrasive or acidic applications, which can damage your tooth enamel. In the office, dentists use a strong hydrogen peroxide solution. Though over-the-counter offerings can’t, by law, be as strong, look for products that use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as their main ingredient.
While using a tooth whitening product, avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth. They’re more susceptible to staining while you’re using whitening solutions.
Pro Tip: Use a straw to drink beverages that could stain your teeth.
The Pro Approach
Because dentists can apply a much stronger whitening solution while using safety precautions, you can get a whiter smile much faster – one hour at the dentist versus days or weeks applying over-the-counter solutions at home.
The prescription in-office whitening solution contains a 35-40% hydrogen peroxide gel, usually applied four times in 15-minute increments. The dentist can also apply a fluoride treatment afterwards, which helps reduce tooth sensitivity and protects your enamel.
As with DIY whitening, you’ll need to avoid foods and beverages that could stain your teeth for at least 72 hours after whitening.
If you’ve been putting off some dental work like having an old filling replaced, here’s a good reason to make an appointment: you’ll get a “two-fer” out of it.
If you have teeth with mercury-amalgam fillings, having those old fillings replaced with a composite filling can actually make your teeth appear whiter—because they’re more translucent than most of us realize.
The Once-and-Done Approach
It actually takes two trips to the dentist, but then you’re not only done with whitening, you’re also probably sporting a straighter, more attractive smile.
The secret: Veneers.
Ceramic or porcelain shells customized to fit to the front surfaces of your teeth, veneers are highly resistant to coffee, tea, cigarette, and other stains.
Once they’re bonded to your teeth, the ultra-thin material is virtually undetectable from the real thing.
Veneers can also do the heavy lifting of “fixing” other problems like improving the appearance of crooked, chipped, or gapped teeth. So, if whitening your teeth is the least of your concerns with your smile, ask your dentist about getting veneers.
Next time you’re looking for ways to enhance your business presentation or sales pitch, remember to take care of the most important key to your success: you.
Dr. Charles Sutera , DMD, FAGD, is a doctor of dental medicine, TMJ specialist, board-certified in moderate dental anesthesiology, and renowned for high profile cosmetic dental reconstructions. He is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and is the founder of his dental practice, Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction.
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