A sparkling white smile appeals to all who see it. Having attractive teeth can also give your self-confidence a boost. But our teeth don’t always look as white as we’d like them to. Sometimes the foods and drinks we like cause staining; smoking is another culprit. And simply aging can cause your teeth to yellow. It happens to almost everyone eventually. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it!
Did you know that teeth whitening is a relatively inexpensive way to enhance a faded smile? You’ve probably seen many different over-the-counter products that claim to whiten teeth to varying degrees. But the strongest and fastest acting whitening solutions are only available in your dentist’s office through a process known as “power bleaching.” This process can lighten teeth three to eight shades in a single hour and can last from six months to two years. First, your dentist will protect your gums, and if necessary, the roots of your teeth, to ensure your safety. Then, a professional strength bleaching solution is applied.
Often, a special light or laser will be used to make the bleach work faster. Another way to whiten your teeth is with a take-home kit prescribed by your dentist. First, your dentist makes molds of your teeth. Then, thin plastic mouth trays are created to fit your teeth exactly, allowing you to apply the bleaching gel. In order to see the desired results, you’ll need to stick with your dentist’s prescribed course of treatment. While this process takes longer, it can also be very effective and less expensive.
There are a few things you need to know before whitening your teeth. Potential side effects include tooth sensitivity or gum irritation, which are usually minor and clear up in a short time. Your dentist can tell you if you are likely to develop sensitivity based on the condition of your teeth and gums. Be aware that tooth sensitivity or gum irritation can become more serious if you use over-the-counter, ill-fitting trays or if the bleach is applied by untrained personnel. Keep in mind that teeth whitening will not affect existing crowns, veneers or fillings.
Whitening is not permanent but it is possible to slow the fading process by avoiding the foods and habits that cause staining, and by doing a minor touch up every so often. Most importantly, studies have found teeth whitening to be safe when used as directed. Teeth whitening is the most popular and cost effective way to dramatically enhance your smile. If you are considering teeth whitening, talk to your dentist. Together, you can come up with the best plan to return your smile to its better, brighter days.