Things you should know about teeth whitening
Teeth whitening, a comparatively non-invasive cosmetic procedure is extremely popular and becoming increasingly available. From the information in many promotional advertisements, it would be reasonable to assume that all whitening products guarantee a Hollywood smile for everyone. And this simply is not the case.
Tooth whitening is an effective way to deal with extrinsic staining – from tea, coffee and red wine, certain foods, and the normal yellowing of ageing. Nicotine stains can require a dentist’s clean.
Some discoloration, for example following certain medications or dental repairs, will not improve with these treatments. And this type of whitening may make a tooth of concern even more prominent between healthy teeth that do respond.
A consult with your dentist first means a fair prediction of the results you can expect.
Which tooth whitening treatment is best?
With an increasing range of products to choose from, how do you make a choice?
Tooth pastes and other over-the-counter products naturally contain lower concentrations of whitening agents thus providing more gradual results. Also, some tooth pastes contain higher proportions of abrasive substances than is recommended, risking damage to tooth enamel.
Many dentists provide take-home kits, for bleaching in the comfort and convenience of home and at your own pace. Light trays are custom made from a mold of the teeth ensuring a snug fit for comfort as well as reduced leakage of bleaching compound. Normally, this process is done over a couple of weeks, with only periodic top-ups required. It is common for some short-term sensitivity during or following the process.
The fastest and most dramatic whitening is carried out whilst in the dental chair. Taking only around an hour, it uses the most concentrated agents recommended and really boosts a smile prior to a wedding or important occasion. Due to the higher concentration in these compounds, sensitivity is more common.
And perhaps some to avoid . . .?
And finally, there’s a host of do-it-yourself remedies! Beware though of baking soda – it is highly abrasive to the enamel, and strawberries and apple cider vinegar are highly acidic which is a factor in erosion of tooth enamel . . .
In short, if you think you’d like to try whitening, it may save time and money to get some professional advice!