If you want a beautiful, dazzling smile, then the idea of getting your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist has, no doubt, crossed your mind. But what exactly does it involve? And is it effective?
Teeth Whitening Options
In general, there are two teeth-whitening options. You can either get what’s come to be called “in-office” whitening therapy where your dentist carries out treatment in the dental chair. Or you can opt for a variety of home-bleaching options, both over-the-counter and prescribed.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is the most potent and immediate form of teeth whitening currently available. Here your dentist applies a bleaching agent directly to the surface of your teeth. The bleach penetrates the enamel and removes the color of any tannins (food stains) on the surface and subsurface.
The great thing about in-office teeth whitening is that it’s perfectly safe and you can complete treatment in as little as 30 to 60 minutes. A single treatment can make your teeth up to eight shades whiter.
At-Home Whitening Options
If you’d like whiter teeth, your dentist might also suggest that you use an at-home whitening option.
The most basic whitening approach is to use a whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes usually contain an abrasive agent that scrubs discoloration off the surface of teeth as you brush. Some also contain mild bleaches.
Another option is tray-based systems. These vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but, in general, involve putting a bleaching agent onto a tray that you then wear in your mouth. You have to wear the tray for up to four weeks, but at the end of it, your teeth can look significantly whiter.
Finally, there are tooth whitening strips and gels. You apply a strip to your teeth once per day for a couple of weeks while they do their work. It’s a popular, cost-effective option.
What Causes Teeth To Lose Their Whiteness?
Acidic and tannin-rich food and drink can change the color of your teeth. These include sports drinks, sodas, tea, coffee, wine, and tomatoes. Berries also contain a large quantity of anthocyanins, another chemical that can bleach teeth.
A number of lifestyle issues can cause teeth to lose their natural whiteness, such as smoking. Some people, however, do not have naturally white teeth, regardless of their lifestyle. Often the only way to increase whiteness is to apply a bleaching agent.
When To Speak To Your Dentist About Whitening
If you’re not happy about the whiteness of your teeth or it’s affecting your confidence, then it’s time to speak to your dentist. Nobody needs to go through life feeling miserable about stained or yellowed teeth.
Some dental whitening treatments can be uncomfortable for those with sensitive teeth. Your dentist can provide you with advice on the kind of whitening therapy that you should use and which will be most effective for your needs.
Some tooth discoloration, such as that caused by tetracycline antibiotics, cannot be resolved by whitening. Your dentist will be able to show you alternative therapies that you can use.