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How Do You Whiten Teeth?

Over time, many things contribute to teeth losing their white shine, including certain foods and drinks that stain the teeth, leading to a dull smile. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly half of adults in the US believe that a smile is a person’s most memorable feature, so it’s understandable that people would want to learn about options to whiten their teeth. Thankfully, multiple options exist, and, with some brief research, you can find the rockford teeth whitening option that will work best for you. Research should begin with a chat with your dentist. Some of the more popular whitening treatments may present certain risk factors, and your dentist can lay these out for you and make sure you’re selecting the safest, most appropriate tooth whitening treatment for your needs. Sometimes, patients need to treat their gum disease or tooth decay before they can safely whiten their teeth without irritating their gums or further damaging their teeth, and to ensure that their selected whitening treatment will work properly. Your dentist can help you address these issues and achieve optimal whitening results.

Dentists can also determine the type of staining that may be present. When tooth stains are extrinsic, or on the surfaces of the teeth, they may be able to be removed mechanically, while intrinsic stains, or stains whose origin is beneath the enamel, must be treated chemically. In addition to the selected manner of treatment, the type of stain will also affect the duration of overall treatment and the recommended length for each individual treatment. In some cases, as when dental restoration like veneers or crowns are present, patients need to work with their dentist to determine the best way to whiten teeth, as these restorations can’t be whitened with traditional methods and may be damaged if certain methods are used.

If you and your dentist determine that your teeth can be safely and effectively whitened at home, you may want to use over-the-counter whitening methods. The most basic method for whitening the teeth at home is whitening toothpaste, which removes extrinsic stains with mild abrasives that scrub the surfaces of the teeth. These methods polish the teeth, and, while some types of whitening toothpaste may contain mild bleaching agents like baking soda or hydrogen peroxide, they primarily use friction to remove stains and it therefore may take longer to notice results. Whitening strips are another popular home whitening method. Whitening strips work by applying a bleaching agent, like hydrogen peroxide, directly to the teeth and allowing it to sit on the surfaces of the teeth for a predetermined amount of time. The whitening strips themselves are thin sheets of plastic that have a concentrated bleaching agent on them; the strips are applied to the teeth for up to an hour, exposing the surfaces of the teeth to the bleaching agent. Whitening strips are convenient and affordable, but they work best for people who have straight, even teeth, which allows the bleaching agent to make even contact with all the surfaces of the teeth. Additionally, in some people, they can cause tooth sensitivity, erosion of the enamel, or irritation in the gums.

For the fastest and most noticeable results, in-office whitening treatments are recommended. Some dentists will provide patients with customized gel trays that contain higher concentrations of peroxide to bleach the teeth. Because these trays are prepared by dentists specifically for each patient, there is less risk of the bleaching agent maintaining contact with the gums and therefore less risk of irritating the gum tissue. At-home whitening takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for optimal whitening. In-office whitening, which uses the highest possible concentration of peroxide whitener and is safely administered by a dentist, can effectively whiten the teeth in just one treatment, though sometimes more treatments may be recommended. An in-depth consultation with your dentist can help you determine which of these tooth whitening treatments will best brighten your smile.

Cost of Teeth Whitening