By Kelsi Matylewicz / Benco Dental Intern

Although questions are raised about the risks of teeth whitening, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry stated that people place a high value on their smiles.

“Virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset; 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex. Three-quarters (74%) of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chance for career success.”

Before you bleach, some facts to consider, according to a report by Delta Dental:

* When whitening, you may encounter tooth sensitivity and/or damage to the roots of your teeth.

* Tooth whitening is successful in at least 90 percent of patients. Most often, yellow-colored teeth respond well to whitening, while brownish-colored teeth don’t respond as well. Gray stains caused by smoking, or the ingestion of too much fluoride most likely will not be dramatically changed by tooth whitening.

* If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth, the whitener will not change the color of these materials.

*  Tooth whitening procedures in the dental office are not typically covered under dental plans.

* Over-the-counter treatments are less expensive, but they may require a longer treatment period. For quicker and more reliable results, you should ask your dentist about in-office whitening or laser whitening.

To keep your smile white and healthy, practice oral health habits: brush daily and keep flossing!