About Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening is one of the easiest procedures that can be done to improve the appearance of a smile. Today, tooth whitening is a safe and long-lasting way to achieve a brighter smile. A dentist-supervised whitening treatment is the safest and most effective method for obtaining whiter teeth.
Teeth become darker with age and exposure to substance such as coffee, tea, and tobacco. These yellow, brown or orange colored stains respond best to lightening. Other stains may be cause by exposure to a drug called tetracycline or to excess fluoride during early stages of tooth development. These gray stains can be lightened but results are not as predictable.
The Whitening Process
After an exam to ensure oral health, your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for a whitening process. There are several whitening process available today; your dentist will recommend one that will give you the best results.
In-office whitening is done at your dentist’s office. While it may require several visits depending on the number of teeth that need whitening, in-office whitening is the fastest way to brighten your smile. Your dentist protects your gums, then applies a bleaching agent to the teeth. A special heat light may beused to activate the agent.
A dentist-supervised, at-home whitening system is the most popular way to achieve a whiter smile. Your dentist first takes an impression of the teeth to create a custom bleaching tray. When you receive the bleaching tray, you will also receive the whitening gel and specific instructions from your dentist on how to use the system. This system usually takes 10 to 14 days to complete but some patients may begin to notice results right away. You dentist will ask you to come back to check on your progress.
A number of whitening toothpastes are available to purchase over-the-counter. These tooth pastes rely on chemical or abrasive agents to remove stains from the surface of teeth. Since the active whitening ingredient is not exposed to the tooth surface for long, toothpastes are less effective for significant whitening. These toothpastes may be best to maintain a brighter smile after an in-office or at-home whitening treatment. Check with your dentist before using one of these products.
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