A Bright and Shiny smile is a wish for the young and old. Your own teeth may be a little dull looking. You have clean, healthy teeth but you wish they were several shades whiter. A confident smile expresses capability and a belief in oneself. A bright smile lights up a face. It makes a person look younger, with increased vitality. If you have a beautiful smile, everything about you seems positive. You can have such a smile with the help of teeth whitening.
Of all the cosmetic dentistry treatments offered by dentists, teeth whitening is by far the most popular.This is probably due to the lower cost of teeth whitening versus other cosmetic dentistry procedures. It is estimated that ten million Americans will spend $1.7 billion on teeth whitening products and services this year. Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry service provided by dentists, and there are also a growing number of over-the-counter teeth whitening products to choose from.
For those with little or no other dental problems, teeth whitening is one of the most successful cosmetic dentistry procedures that can be done. The results can be spectacular. Patients will see an increase in self esteem following a whitening procedure. Virtually everyone can have their natural teeth whitened no matter how dark they are. However, old fillings, whether old fashioned mercury-silver amalgams or more modern composites(tooth colored fillings), or porcelain do not whiten. These older restorations would need to be replaced and updated to the new color of your teeth if you were to opt for teeth whitening.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening products are available at the dentist’s office and also over-the-counter. Visiting a dentist for teeth whitening is the most effective and quickest way to whiten your teeth because the whitening materials are stronger than what is sold in the stores. That said, teeth whitening occurs at different levels for different patients. What happens when you whiten your teeth? You are removing a lifetime of accumulated stains from food, candy, teas, sodas and wine.
For smokers, the nicotine from tobacco leaves dark brown and yellow stains that will not just brush away. Tooth enamel is a crystal, like a diamond with many facets. Over time, stains collect between the facets and discolor the teeth. The peroxide cleans out the stains. It is not an acid and does not damage the enamel. You can get as many teeth whitening treatments as you like. This allows your teeth to return to a more natural state of whiteness and brightness. Teeth whitening is not a one time procedure.
It will need to be repeated every so often if you want to maintain your whiter, brighter smile. Generally, there are three types of teeth whitening:
1) In Office Teeth Whitening (also called Dentist supervised teeth whitening). In office teeth whitening involves the controlled use of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, tailored to a particular patient. Most in-office systems use gels with 15-35% carbamide peroxide. The dentist can whiten your teeth in approximately one hour using this higher concentration gel that is activated by a special light. This is the best and most effective technique that gives you the fastest and most accurate result due to the precision of the dentist and materials used.
2) At Home Teeth Whitening. Impressions are taken of your teeth so custom whitening trays can be fabricated just for you. The dentist will give you tubes of tooth whitening gel, usually enough for about 2 weeks of application. At-home systems will use a lowered carbamide peroxide concentration gel. You will asked to wear the trays with the gel for a minimum of 2 hours per day. Most patients prefer to sleep with trays in so it works overnight as well. This treatment usually takes approximately 2 weeks but in difficult cases may take up to 6 weeks. The cost is usually about half the cost of the in-office method, but for many people, the additional time required and inconvenience make it less popular.
3) Over-the-counter Teeth Whitening Products. This is the least successful way and involves using products purchased from your local drug store. A few of these over-the-counter products can work very well in selected cases. Many of these products do not have FDA approval and most have only varying degrees of success. It can be very hard to get this method of teeth whitening to give optimal results. Studies have confirmed that teeth whitening is safe and effective. Teeth Whitening gels that contain 10 percent carbamide peroxide have not been shown to cause any damage to the enamel of the tooth. Higher concentrations of carbamide and hydrogen peroxide available from the dentist may weaken the enamel, but most of these formulas also contain fluoride offsetting this potential side-effect. Patients who use higher concentrations of whitening agents can further protect their teeth thru the use of prescription fluoride gel or rinse.
Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation can occur. If either occurs it is best to start using the whitening product less frequently (usually recommended to whiten every other day instead of every day) and reduce the amount of time spent whitening. Sensitivity is treated via a prescription fluoride. Irritation of the gums can occur from either the in-office, at-home or over-the-counter tooth whitening systems. Gum irritation is usually mild and reversible, but can be treated with over-the-counter products such as Orajel (to relieve the discomfort).
Teeth Whitening Conclusion
Bottom line, in teeth whitening, you trade money for time. The more you invest, the shorter the time and the more successful the result. It is important to have realistic expectations regarding what the results might be. Several treatments may be needed to achieve a whiter smile. Teeth Whitening results may not be permanent, as your teeth will naturally pick up stain from foods, drinks, or tobacco use. Remember to brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and examinations. Teeth whitening results will vary from patient to patient, so choose an option that will suit your budget and specific need. A beautiful smile can open doors. Which one will open for you?