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One of the hallmarks of a healthy smile is bright, white teeth. However, too often, aging, foods, drinks, medications, and poor dental hygiene can dull or stain your teeth. If you want to get teeth whitening, first find out whether the process is safe and whether you should consider it. Check out the following guide from our team at Langley Dental Care.
How Do Teeth Become Discolored?
Teeth don’t naturally remain bright throughout most people’s lives. Aging is a foremost cause of teeth darkening. In fact, whitening may help your smile look younger due to correcting the effects of aging. However, getting older is not the only cause of tooth discoloration.
Color changes in the teeth happen from inside or outside of the tooth. Aging is an example of darkening that starts from the inside and works its way to the outside.
Also known as intrinsic discoloration, this color change is more difficult to correct without professional whitening. Other types of darkening happen from medication side effects, damage to a tooth, or childhood illness.
The most common type of discoloration happens from exterior stains, known as extrinsic discoloration. Coffee, red wines, fruit juices, tobacco products, and dyed food can contribute to staining as well. Stopping the use of the products above can prevent continued discoloration but will not remove the existing stains.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Effective teeth whitening depends on your process and how quickly you want results. The safety of the products also depends on how you use them. Understanding the various differences among the types of whitening available will help you to select the most effective, safest option for your smile.
Over the Counter
Over the counter whitening kits have mild bleaching agents designed to remove only extrinsic surface stains. Often, these products take a week or longer to show results. Whitening toothpaste brands take longer to brighten the teeth because they don’t use bleaching ingredients and instead scrub off the stains.
At best, you may have whitening of only one shade using either of these types of products. Plus, you may have increased sensitivity in your teeth after using these products, especially whitening kits with bleaching ingredients.
Take-Home Whitening Kits from the Dentist
The dentist can provide you with stronger whitening kits that you can find over the counter. At Langley Dental Care, we have the authorization to provide our patients with either the Opalescence Go or the GLO Professional Whitening Kit. These take-home options require an evaluation by a dentist to ensure that you get the most effective solutions for your cosmetic dental needs.
In-Office Dental Whitening
The most effective form of teeth whitening is in your dentist’s office. GLO In-Office Whitening offers results that outperform over-the-counter whitening by up to 500%.
This process uses heat and light to achieve exceptional results. If you want your teeth several shades whiter or have intrinsic stains, you should make an appointment for in-office whitening.
Teeth Whitening Risks
Teeth whitening comes with risks, increasing with less supervision. For instance, over-the-counter kits come with the risk of bleaching agents irritating your teeth or gums. If you have cavities that you don’t know about, the bleach could cause pain in the affected tooth.
Another risk to your safety is in using over-the-counter options that do not have the seal of the American Dental Association (ADA).
These products are safe if used exactly as directed. If you do not follow the directions on whitening strips or trays, you could raise the chances of side effects such as gum inflammation or dental sensitivity.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Is teeth whitening safe? Generally, it is mostly safe if you discuss the issue with your dentist. If you have not seen a dentist in a while, you may have gingivitis or cavities that whitening kits can irritate.
Many over-the-counter products have strips or trays that may not adequately cover your teeth’ surfaces without touching the gums. Therefore, the chances of getting the bleaching agent on your gums increases, as does the consequent pain.
Even over-the-counter toothpaste types do not lack risks. Because these products take longer, some people overuse them or brush harder with their toothbrushes. Overusing any toothpaste, using a brush with hard bristles, or putting too much force behind the toothbrush when brushing can remove some of the protective enamel from the teeth, worsening discoloration and causing permanent damage.
Effectiveness is another concern with whitening. Over-the-counter products may not remove intrinsic discoloration or whiten more than a shade or two. Some people make the mistake of overusing these products to try to get faster or more intense results.
Products from a dentist or in-office whitening are the safest options. Because they come with dental supervision and stronger products that produce better results.
Why You Should See a Dentist for Whitening
If you want whiter teeth, talk to your dentist at your next visit. During your discussion, the dentist will help you to choose the right option for you.
Additionally, you’ll get help in finding a product that effectively corrects tooth discoloration. For instance, you’ll likely get better results from in-office whitening with interior-originating discoloration. Take-home kits can help you to brighten exterior stains or to keep your smile looking bright between in-office appointments.
Contact Langley Dental Care for Teeth Whitening
Don’t waste your money on over-the-counter whitening toothpaste or kits. These don’t work as well as professionally supervised in-office or take-home whitening. If you want to see how bright you can get your teeth, schedule a visit with us at Langley Dental Care. You deserve a beautiful, bright smile that you can share with the world. We can help you to get it.