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When it comes to your appearance, your smile is often the first thing that people notice. But, if you have discolored or stained teeth, you may be reluctant to show your smile to the world. One solution is teeth whitening. However, with so many teeth whitening options available, how do you know which ones are the best for you?
Why Teeth Need Whitening
Your teeth have a protective enamel coating that prevents stains from sticking to the surfaces. However, over time, dietary acids, abrasive brushing, and even acid reflux can wear away this enamel, opening up your teeth’s natural pores to picking up stains from coffee, tea, wine, smoking, and foods. Other causes outside of your control include age, trauma, medications, and even some cancer treatments. Regardless of why you have discolored or stained teeth, you don’t have to live with a dull smile.
While protecting the enamel and preventing its thinning and loss is the ideal way to keep your teeth from staining, for many people, this no longer becomes possible. Removing the stains or discoloration with any of the various teeth whitening options available is the only way to restore a white, bright smile.
Precautions for Whitening
When it comes to teeth whitening, not everyone can safely use every available method. For example, if you have cavities or gum disease, you need to have a dentist address those problems before you try whitening. If you have fillings or crowns, recognize that those will not take the whitening agent as your natural teeth will, leaving them a different color from the surrounding lighter teeth.
The color of your teeth stains may also make a difference in the results that you get. The most common discoloration, yellowing, has the best outcome from all teeth whitening methods. However, if you have very dark stains or discoloration that is brown to purple, whitening may not work. Talk to your dentist for more specific advice on whether you can get the results you want with teeth whitening. Alternatives may include cosmetic options such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Lastly, pregnant women, those with allergies to the whitening ingredients, and children should avoid teeth whitening as it could pose a danger to those in these groups.
At-Home Teeth Whitening Options
While you can whiten your teeth at home, you may not want to. Despite the convenience of toothpaste and over-the-counter whitening kits, these don’t provide enough strength to whiten your teeth more than a shade. Additionally, you must use these products multiple times to see results.
All toothpaste will scrub away minor surface stains. Specialty teeth whitening kinds of toothpaste, though include either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide for lightening teeth.
As with most teeth whitening products, toothpaste may cause tooth sensitivity while using them. You may also experience gum irritation. However, due to the lower level of whitening ingredients in toothpaste, these side effects are less likely than with other teeth whitening options.
2. Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits typically include strips or gels that you put over the teeth. Gels require you to carefully brush the agent onto your teeth. Strips have the whitening agent on flexible strips that you place over your teeth.
You may have to wait several days before seeing results from using these kits. Also, if you don’t use them correctly, you could irritate your gums. Some people may also have extra tooth sensitivity from using these products.
Dentist-Provided Whitening Options
Teeth whitening products that your dentist provides ensure the best results because you have supervision for their use. Additionally, the dentist can recommend the best option for your case of tooth discoloration.
1. Dentist Customized Take-Home Whitening Kits
Unlike over-the-counter kits that use generic strips, the kits you get from your dentist have trays that mold to your teeth. The dentist will first create a mold from your teeth and send it to have a tray made. These trays hold the whitening agent directly onto your teeth. Because they fit your mouth perfectly, they also reduce how much the bleaching ingredients touch your gums.
With dentist customized trays, you have better results because the bleaching ingredients have more contact with each tooth’s surface. Options include the Opalescence PF kit or the GLO professional take-home whitening kit. Both of these options you can only get through licensed dental offices.
2. In-Office Teeth Whitening
While take-home kits work well between dental office visits, the best results come from in-office teeth whitening. When getting whitening at your dentist’s office, you can see the results the same day. In fact, the GLO in-office whitening treatment is 500% stronger than anything you can get over the counter.
In-office whitening lets the dentist control where to place the bleaching agent. You may also ask about getting a prescription for fluoride treatment to reduce tooth sensitivity after in-office whitening.
So, Which Teeth Whitening Methods Are The Best?
When it comes to teeth whitening, you get faster, brighter results from in-office dental treatments. You may need multiple sessions to attain your desired level of teeth whiteness. However, your dentist can work with you on scheduling sessions to get the results you want.
In fact, the American Dental Association recommends that all patients talk to their dentists before trying any whitening procedure. Bleaching should also never replace good oral hygiene for maintaining healthy teeth. A consultation with a dentist before whitening can ensure that your teeth are healthy enough to have success with the procedure.
Choose Professional Whitening for Safer, Brighter Results
When it comes to your teeth, you only have one set as an adult. Protecting your teeth from damage starts with choosing the right teeth whitening options for a healthier smile. At Langley Dental Care, we specialize in cosmetic and family dentistry. We can help you to get the bright smile you desire while keeping your teeth safe from the harsh chemicals in over-the-counter whitening products. Make an appointment with us today to see how beautiful your smile can become.