When you smile in the mirror, what do you see? Are you satisfied with your reflection, or do your teeth seem yellow and dingy, making you appear older than your years? Perhaps it’s time to talk with your dentist about teeth whitening.
White teeth look healthy and youthful. Stained and discolored teeth, on the other hand, can be aging and can detract from one’s overall appearance. Stains and discoloration of teeth may be caused by a number of factors, such as too much fluoride in the drinking water or the consumption of tea, coffee, and/or red wine. Practically anyone may be at risk of developing a dingy smile. Even those of you who brush and floss regularly may eventually end up with unwanted stains on their teeth!
Modern-day teeth whitening methods can get rid of those ugly stains and turn your smile into one that is beautiful and radiant…just like the smile you had when you were a child.
Imagine adding bleach to your laundry to make the white clothes whiter and brighter. During the tooth whitening process, a type of non-invasive bleach is used to remove stains and make your teeth whiter as it changes the color of your natural tooth enamel.
There are toothpastes that include whitening agents which, when used regularly, may help to keep your smile bright. If toothpastes alone are not enough, you can buy over-the-counter tooth-whitening kits or whitening strips for use at home. For those of you who wish to be pampered, there are spas and salons that offer tooth-whitening services. For more severe teeth discoloration problems, your dentist can perform professional teeth whitening procedures.
The American Dental Association recommends that you visit our dentist for a thorough examination and evaluation to determine if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening. Have our dentist evaluate your dental health, observe hard and soft tissues, examine the placement and condition of restorations, and, if needed, take x-rays for the assessment of possible irregularities.
Whiteners will not be suitable for everyone. For instance, individuals who have grayish-hued teeth may not benefit much from teeth whitening. Yellow teeth, on the other hand, tend to bleach quite well. If none of the teeth-whitening procedures seem to be suitable for you, you may want to look into other options, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Professional teeth whitening, also called chair-side bleaching, typically requires one dental visit. The most popular product for this procedure is ZOOM or DASH. Both products are as effective and manufactured by the same company except that DASH eliminates the need of the UV light. Which, in turn, decreases the exposure of the UV light and sensitivity after the procedure. Results are very comparable with an increasing amount of patient opting for the DASH.
During the visits, a protective gel may be applied to your gums or a rubber shield may be used to protect the soft tissues from chemical burns caused by the bleach. The bleaching agent will then be applied to the teeth, and a laser UV light (if ZOOM is used) may be used to accelerate the whitening power of the bleaching agent. Typically three 15 minute session are performed but that varies from patient to patient based on sensitivity.
Sometimes, professional teeth-whitening procedures begin in the office and are continued at home. In such instances, during the first visit, you will have impressions made of your teeth. From these molds, custom trays will be fashioned for use during the bleaching process. During the second visit, the trays will be fitted and any necessary adjustments made. You may be given a low-concentration oxidizing agent to use at home for approximately 30 minutes, twice a day, repeating the process for up to two weeks. If a high-concentration agent is used, the trays will be left on for less time, and the process will need to be repeated only up to two more times.
Take good care of your teeth by brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Visit your dentist regularly and find out how you can keep your smile looking happy, whiter, and young-looking.