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Teeth Whitening – All You Need To Know

April 2, 2014

When it comes to teeth whitening, there are many options available today. There are over-the-counter products such as whitening toothpastes, gels, strips, rinses, and trays. Some whitening products can be obtained from your dentist, as well.

Teeth whitening, as the name suggests, whitens your discolored and/or stained teeth. Teeth whitening treatment, however, is not ideal for every individual. It is ideal for only those who have strong, unrestored teeth and gums. Keep reading on to find out if this cosmetic dental treatment is right for you.

Whitening Products and Systems

As said earlier, there are many whitening products and systems available. Let us have an insight on some of the common ones.

Whitening Toothpastes

All toothpastes available in the market today contain mild abrasives and, therefore, each of them will help remove minor surface stains. Whitening toothpastes, however, contain gentle chemical or polishing agents, which further provide additional stain removal efficacy. Using such whitening toothpastes can only help remove minor stains –they will not whiten the teeth color, as they do not contain bleach. Whereas some over-the-counter and whitening products utilized by dentists contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that helps remove stains and whiten the teeth color. Whitening toothpastes may lighten the color of a tooth by one shade; in-office teeth whitening treatment by your dentist can lighten your teeth color by three to eight shades.

Whitening Rinses

Among the latest whitening products, whitening rinses are the newest addition. Similar to other mouthwashes, they freshen breath, as well as help reduce plaque and gum disease. Whitening rinses, however, also contain hydrogen peroxide in their mixture, which help whiten teeth. As per their manufacturers, it may take about 12 weeks to see some results. Before brushing your teeth, you need to swish the whitening rinse in your mouth for about 60 seconds. You need to use the rinse twice a day. Some experts say that these rinses are not as effective as other whitening products because they contact with teeth for a very short period (60 seconds X two times daily).

Over-the-Counter Whitening Gels and Strips

Whitening gels are transparent, peroxide-based gels that you can apply with a small brush over the surface of your teeth directly. As per the instructions, one needs to apply the gel twice a day for about 14 days. Results are apparently visible in a few days, and the results may last for about four or five months.

Whitening strips are thin, clear strips that are crusted with a peroxide-based gel. One needs to apply the whitening strips twice every day for 30 minutes for two weeks. Similar to whitening gel, results are apparently visible in a few days, and the results may last for about four or five months.

Teeth Whitening Trays

One can get teeth whitening trays or tray-based whitening systems from either over-the-counter or dentist. The whitening trays are similar to mouth-guards or night-guards, but with a whitening gel solution filled in them. Of course, the whitening gel solution contains a peroxide agent. One needs to wear the tray for a certain period of time – usually from a couple of hours a day to all day long for up to five weeks or longer.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

In-office teeth whitening treatment offers the quickest and efficient way to whiten teeth. During this treatment, your dentist will apply the whitening product directly to your teeth. Then, your dentist will utilize a special light or laser over your teeth. The treatment lasts for 30 to 60 minutes, and the results are visible immediately. In-office teeth whitening treatment can remove stains, as well as whiten teeth. It is, however, expensive than other teeth whitening alternatives.

The Duration of Teeth Whitening Results

Teeth whitening results are not permanent. People who consume foods and beverages that cause staining may notice the whiteness begin to fade in about a month or so. Consumption of cigarettes and alcohols will stain the whitened teeth quicker. Those who avoid consumption of foods and beverages that cause staining, as well as cigarettes and alcohols may not require teeth whitening treatment again, for at least one year.

Who Should Not Go Through Teeth Whitening?

Teeth-whitening cosmetic dental treatment is less successful, or not recommended in the below mentioned circumstances.

Gum disease, cavities, worn enamel, and exposed roots

It is recommended not to undergo teeth-whitening treatment if you have a gum disease or teeth with worn enamel. If you have cavities, you will need to undergo cavities filling treatment first before teeth whitening treatment. This is necessary because the whitening solutions permeate into any existing tooth decay, which can later cause sensitivity. Further, whitening treatments will not work on a tooth with exposed roots as roots do not have any enamel layer.

Allergies and sensitive teeth

If you are allergic to peroxide, you should not use any teeth whitening product. On the other hand, if you have sensitive teeth and gums, defective restorations, and/or receding gums, you should first consult your dentist before undergoing teeth whitening treatment.

Crowns, fillings, and other dental restorations

Whitening will not work on tooth-colored dental fillings and resin composite materials used in restoration – crowns, bridges, veneers, bonding. Using whitening product on teeth with any restoration will result in uneven whitening – teeth without restorations will look whiter than those with restorations do. Teeth whitening should be prior to any restorations. Consulting your dentist will offer the best solution.

Severely stained teeth

Yellowish teeth react well to whitening, little dark-colored teeth react less, but severely stained or darkly stained teeth, may not react to whitening at all. Severely stained teeth are difficult to whiten and may need several in-office treatments or up to six months of at-home treatments to whiten successfully. Severely stained teeth, however, have a better option than whitening – dental veneers, crowns, or bonding. Consult your dentist for the best option.

Age as well as pregnancy issues

Teeth-whitening is not advised for children under the age of 16. The reason for this is, the nerve of the tooth, or pulp chamber, is enlarged during this age. Undergoing teeth whitening during such a condition could aggravate the pulp or make it sensitive. Dentists also recommend pregnant women not to undergo teeth whitening treatment.

Risks of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can deliver whiter teeth, but there are two side effects associated with it – temporary increase in the tooth sensitivity and minor irritation of the soft tissues in the mouth. The good thing, however, is that, both these conditions are temporary. They disappear within two to three days after the treatment.

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to whiten your teeth, choose any of the over-the-counter whitening products. The results, however, will be gradual. If you are looking for a quick way to whiten your teeth, visit your dentist and ask for in-office teeth whitening treatment.

If you are in Pennsylvania, wanting to have a quick brighter smile, then Flenniken Family Dentistry can help you. Flenniken Family Dentistry, experienced dentists in Pennsylvania, is an expert in providing various cosmetic dental treatments, including teeth whitening. Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies, they ensure to deliver nothing but the best. Know more about various cosmetic dental treatments, and how Flenniken Family Dentistry helps deliver brighter smile, by contacting them at the following address.

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