How do you whiten teeth

How do you whiten teeth?


It’s not surprising that nearly half of the adults in the US consider a person’s smile to be their most noticeable feature, a claim supported by data from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, so it’s equally unsurprising that many people are interested in whitening their teeth. It’s common for teeth to grow discolored over time, and certain medical and orthodontic treatments can also encourage staining and dulling of the luminous enamel that covers the visible outer surfaces of the teeth and gives them their shine. Even if your teeth are relatively stain-free, you might want to whiten them simply to boost your own confidence with a brighter smile. There are several teeth-whitening treatments you’ve probably heard of, but the best approach for safe, effective teeth whitening is to start by talking to your dentist. If you choose an at-home whitening treatment, your dentist can help you assess the risks and benefits of each option so you can make an informed choice.


Another reason to start with a dental checkup is to detect and address any tooth decay or gum disease that may be present before whitening treatment. Bleaching decayed teeth increases tooth sensitivity and can be downright painful, and, when whitening treatments are applied to patients with gum disease, gum irritation increases and tissue damage deepens. Your dentist can also determine the cause of your tooth discoloration and explain the efficacy of different treatments for your particular issue. Many external stains can be removed by your dental hygienist, using specialized tools, but when discoloration involves the layers of tooth beneath the enamel, the teeth may require bleaching, and there are multiple approaches used to bleach the teeth. If you have dental crowns, veneers, or fillings, your dentist can provide in-office treatment to whiten these prosthetics; traditional chemical whitening methods won’t work on these materials, but dentists have alternative methods.


Many patients start with at-home whitening treatments that are available over the counter. Whitening toothpastes can be used to polish the teeth, relying on mild abrasives to slough external stains off the teeth. While these toothpastes might include mild bleaching agents, their primary whitening tool is abrasion, and it can take a while for patients to notice a difference. At-home whitening kits, like whitening strips, use bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide to conveniently bleach the teeth; they are applied to the teeth and left on for about an hour. While these treatments can be effective in many cases, they can also be difficult to apply properly, could lead to sensitivity and irritation in the gums and teeth, and could even cause erosion of the dental enamel.


For more dramatic results with fewer risks, your dentist can provide you with more advanced whitening options. Dentists can provide at-home whitening treatments that include custom-made trays, shaped around your teeth, that are used to apply higher concentrations of bleaching agent to the teeth, reducing the likelihood of gum irritation while optimizing whitening power. They can also apply these whitening gels in the dentist office, which allows them to use higher concentrations of peroxide while safely, thoroughly protecting the gums. These in-office treatments can often provide vividly noticeable results in a single treatment, though more may be needed.


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