Tooth whitening


Whitening teeth is the process that removes built up stains on the surface of teeth to make them a bright white color. The main technique in tooth whitening is when a bleaching agent, that contains either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, is used. This specialized gel is applied to the teeth and it breaks down stains that have gotten into the enamel of the tooth. Once the stains begin to break apart, more light is able to get through and teeth appear whiter. This is most effective on teeth that have been stained yellow due to cigarette smoke or a light brown due to coffee.

Teeth whitening can be done by a trained dentist in the office or there are kits that are available over the counter that are for home use. Certain medications can turn teeth gray or dark brown and these type of stains are more difficult to remove and it can take six months (or more) of treatment to achieve desired results.

A visit to the dentist’s office is the most costly method, ranging between $650 and $750, but they are said to be the most effective. Cosmetic dentists usually use a strong beaching agent in combination with heat and/or light from a laser. This professional method can have your teeth looking up to eight shades lighter. Expect to stay in the dentist chair for a couple of hours, each visit, for this process to be completed.

Over the counter products can range from $20 to $110 dollars. Whitening strips and gels are the most common products available on the market today. These types of products need to be applied twice a day for 10 to 14 consecutive days. Strips used to whiten teeth are thin and virtually invisible and they are usually coated with peroxide. Once the strips are securely wrapped around the front of both the top and bottom of your teeth, they need to stay in place for thirty minutes. It will take a few days for results to be noticed.

Tooth whitening trays

Tooth whitening trays is another option that can done at home. This type of treatment can be purchased from the local drugstore or at the office of the cosmetic dentist. The whitening agent is placed inside of a tray that will fit around your teeth. This type of treatment can yield positive results for up to 30 days without having to be repeated. These kits that are taken home, but dispensed by the Dentist, can cost close to $500. Over the counter methods are usually a less expensive option but the results may not be a good as those supervised by a dentist.

As with most medical treatment, there are pros and cons to the teeth whitening process. The greatest benefit associated with whitening teeth that have been stained due to smoking, age and drinks such as red wine is a brighter smile that you can wear with confidence.

On the negative side, teeth whitening treatments are not permanent. Continued treatment will be necessary to maintain the brightness of the enamel on teeth. Also, this process will not work for everyone. Individuals that have sensitive gums and teeth should avoid this tooth whitening process as well as people that have a receding gum line. Also, people that have a known allergic reaction to peroxide should not engage in this process. Damaged tooth enamel, over bleaching and chemical burns is a possible negative side effect to this process.

When choosing a specific type of product designed for whitening teeth, look for the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association, as this will show that the product has passed the strict standards for being a safe and effective product.

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