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Two Options for Brighter Smile

July 22, 2014

Do you want a perfect bright smile? When it comes to whitening your teeth, you have two options available-in-office-based treatment, or at-home kits.

Both options involve the use of carbamide peroxide-based or hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching agents. While at-home whitening systems contain 3% to 20% peroxide, in-office systems contain 10% to 44% peroxide.

Your teeth will become brighter if you keep the whitening solution longer on your teeth. If the whitening solution, however, contains a higher percentage of peroxide, it is advisable to keep the solution for a shorter period of time on your teeth. Keeping the whitening solution, that has a higher percentage of peroxide, longer on your teeth will dehydrate your teeth and increase tooth sensitivity.

Both tooth-whitening options have their pros and cons; however, if you decide to choose the at-home whitening system, it is advisable to first talk to your dentist. You should also keep in mind that not everyone will achieve perfect  results. Whitening or bleaching will not make any difference to crowns or tooth-colored composite bondings.

In-Office Tooth Whitening

In-office teeth whitening treatment, done by your family dentist, can get teeth spotless and brighter faster. The solution that dentists use to bleach teeth is much stronger than various at-home tooth-whitening kits. Further, dentists also use a special light that expedite and enhance the whitening process.

It normally takes a half an hour to an hour, in-office,  to get the most stirring results (teeth can get four to eight shades brighter). Some dentists, instead of using a special light, use dental lasers that can speed up the whitening process. The cost of in-office whitening treatment varies, but it can range from $400 to $1000.

At-Home Teeth Whitening Options

There are various options for bleaching teeth at home, at your convenience are available. The most common from those include:

•    Tray-based tooth-whitening systems: – With this option, you can fill a mouth guard-like tray with a carbamide or hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching paste or gel and place it over your teeth. You have to do this for one to a few hours a day, for at least four weeks. Tray-based tooth-whitening systems are available over-the-counter, but your dentist can also custom-make one. The cost of this tray-based system ranges from $50 to $1000.
•    Tooth whitening gels and strips: – You can apply these peroxide-based tooth-whitening products with the help of a brush or your hands. Either of these products needs to be applied twice a day for at least a couple of weeks. The results of these products last at least four months, and they may cost you somewhere around $10 to $60.
•    Tooth whitening toothpastes: – Every toothpaste available in the market helps remove yellow stains from teeth, because it contains some mild abrasive agents. Tooth whitening toothpastes, however, contain some polishing agents, which help scrub stains without the help of any bleaching peroxide agent. Tooth-whitening toothpastes help brighten teeth by one shade, and they are inexpensive too. There are whitening toothpastes available, which contain peroxide, but they are not too effective because of their shorter duration use. As said earlier, peroxide needs to stay longer on your teeth to make them white; hence, these whitening toothpastes are not too effective.

Keeping Your Teeth White

Whether you have your teeth whitened by your dentist or use an at-home tooth-bleaching system, you can maintain the results for a longer period by regularly brushing and flossing. Further, to keep your teeth white, avoid tannin-rich and acidic foods and beverages such as:

•    Sauces (tomato, soy, curries)
•    Berries and other similar strongly-colored foods
•    Red and white wine
•    Carbonated beverages (light and dark-colored sodas)
•    Sports drinks
•    Tea and coffee

Before Teeth Whitening, You Should First Talk To Your Dentist

Tooth whitening can make your teeth sensitive temporarily. If you already have sensitive teeth, tooth whitening can create some discomfort. Further, when you use home kits incorrectly, it can lead to burned gums.

Tooth-bleaching works best for individuals who have yellowish teeth and it is less effective for those who have brown teeth. In the case if your tooth color being gray, tooth whitening probably will not work.

To be sure, whether tooth-bleaching is worth your money and time, talk to your dentist first before you use any over-the-counter tooth-bleaching product.

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