Everyone loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. While many people are happy with the sparkle they get from regular cleanings at their dentist, some would like to go beyond this and make their smiles look brighter.
Before starting a whitening treatment, you may want to start by speaking to your dentist. He or she can tell you whether teeth whitening would be effective for you. For example, yellowish coloured teeth will probably bleach well, brownish coloured teeth may bleach less, and greyish coloured teeth may not bleach at all. Bleaching may not enhance your smile if you have had crowns or tooth-coloured fillings placed in your front teeth. The whitener will not affect the colour of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Here are some options for those who are a suitable candidate for bleaching: in-chair bleaching, at-home bleaching and whitening toothpaste.
What is in-chair bleaching?
In-chair bleaching is done at the dental clinic and may require more than one visit. Each visit may take from 30 minutes to one hour. During in-chair bleaching, the dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums to protect the soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light is used to enhance the action of the bleaching gel.
At-home bleaching – how does it work?
There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter.
Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a custom-made mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used for about twice a day for 2 weeks, and others are intended for overnight use for 1-2 weeks.
You may want to speak to your dentist about possible side effects. For example, teeth can become sensitive during the period when you are using the bleaching solution. In many cases, this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. Some people also experience soft tissue irritation–either from a tray that doesn’t fit properly or from solution that may come in contact with the tissues. If you have concerns about such side effects, you should discuss them with your dentist.
Whitening Toothpaste – Do they work?
All kinds of toothpaste help remove surface stains through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpaste has special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaching, toothpaste does not alter the intrinsic colour of teeth.