Tooth whitening is one of the most common and popular ways to make a big difference in your appearance and greatly improve how your teeth look, not to mention making you look years younger.
The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are aging, which makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner; the use of tobacco; drinking dark colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine; certain medicines such as tetracycline; and poor dental hygiene. The ADA recommends having one’s teeth checked by a dentist before undergoing any whitening method.
How It’s Done
Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. The most common type of tooth whitening uses a gel-like whitening solution that is applied directly to the tooth surface. Different types of stains respond differently to the treatment. Treatment times and recommendations are dependent on the condition of a person’s teeth at time of treatment.
For in-home whitening, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make custom mouthpieces to fit you. You will fill each mouthpiece with a whitening gel your dentist provides, and wear the mouthpiece for several hours every day. Many people achieve the amount of whitening they want within a week or two. However, you may need to wear the mouthpiece for four weeks or longer, depending upon your desired result.
In-office whitening, allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel that allows bleaching to happen faster, and usually takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending upon how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. The whitening agent is then placed on the teeth, and repeated until the desired shade is obtained. If your teeth are badly discolored, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks, with an in-home whitening kit, which is usually provided by your dentist following in-office whitening.
Know The Facts – Possible Side Effects & Risks
Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers. Properly fitting whitening trays will not cause any adverse side effects to the enamel of the teeth.
Are You Ready For A Whiter Smile?
If you feel your teeth would benefit from whitening, and want to look years younger with a whiter smile, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment or to discuss the procedure. The benefits of a whiter smile and how you feel about yourself are priceless.