Showing off your pearly whites is less appealing when your teeth are a few shades darker than you prefer. Many people turn to teeth whitening products because, with time, teeth begin to turn yellow due to thinning of the enamel and the consumption of acidic foods and beverages. Smoking or using tobacco products can also…
Find a Dentist for Professional Teeth Whitening
Though it is possible to find teeth whitening products at major retailers and pharmacies, whitening will be more successful when done by a professional dentist. There are a number of things on the market, such as strips, trays, pens, and more, and though these are affordable at-home services, the results are drastically different from professional whitening. There are also heightened concerns about the safety of the process and how long the results will last.
Fast facts about professional whitening services
Whitening services are a way to restore uniform color to stained or yellow teeth. The basic process includes a bleaching product applied to the teeth to lift or lighten discoloration until the desired result is achieved. Dentin is the main portion of the tooth affected by the bleaching agent, as it is the element that creates a tooth’s color. Since it only impacts the dentin and not the enamel of the teeth, whitening is considered a safe cosmetic treatment by the American Dental Association when a professional administers the treatment.
Who should avoid this treatment
Those with sensitive teeth or who have dental restorations should only pursue teeth whitening services after consulting with a dentist. Those with extremely dark stains, crowns, or fillings also need to talk about possible complications. Those who are pregnant may want to postpone this treatment until after the baby is born, and those who are under the age of 18 should also consider waiting on this treatment. People who deal with gum recession and exposed tooth roots may experience some discomfort with whitening services and should follow a dentist's recommendation.
How this treatment should take place
Any sensitivities, concerns and the patient’s medical history ought to be discussed and addressed before any whitening takes place. For some patients, the treatment involves custom-fitted trays that are filled with the whitening solution. The trays are contoured to the teeth, applying the solution directly to result in a natural but brighter smile. These trays may be used at home and the treatment done repeatedly for a specific timeframe.
In-office bleaching may expedite desired results, as a professional whitening can often be done in a single dental visit in about an hour. This procedure uses a strong whitening gel applied to the teeth and heated under a special lamp for several 20-minute intervals. Some dentists use a laser to activate or accelerate the whitening process, and the gel is reapplied between the intervals. A protective barrier is put in place to avoid damaging the gums, lips, and tongue and keep the solution on the teeth.
How to preserve the results
Even though the solution from a professional dentist is stronger than an over-the-counter product, the teeth can become re-stained or discolored over time. Dark-colored beverages, aging, and smoking impact the color of the teeth. Proper oral hygiene can preserve the results, though treatment may be needed again down the road.
FAQs about teeth whitening
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about teeth whitening.
Does teeth whitening damage your teeth?
While some research has indicated that teeth whitening treatments may change the texture of a tooth's surface, the treatments have been used on millions of patients and are considered safe. Patients who are concerned about safety can take steps to reduce their risks.
Choose whitening products that have the ADA seal of approval. Carefully follow the instructions for the product. People should consider not using whitening products if they develop sensitive teeth or gums during use. Alternatively, they may want to switch to a milder product. Talk to a dentist about whether whitening products are appropriate for your teeth.
Can whitening products fix yellow teeth?
Whitening products may improve the appearance of yellow teeth. However, if the underlying cause of the yellowing is not addressed, it will likely return. Yellowing of the teeth can be caused by diet, illness, smoking, oral hygiene, and overexposure to fluoride. Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding staining beverages or not smoking, may prevent some yellowing issues. If oral hygiene is the cause of your teeth yellowing, consult with your dentist about your oral hygiene routine. If illness or medication is causing your yellow teeth, talk to your doctor before considering any changes. Teeth that are stained by overexposure to fluoride require dental supervision for whitening treatments to be successful.
Teeth whitening services should be left to a dental professional for optimal results. Schedule a consultation to find out more about getting a brighter, whiter smile.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Teeth Whitening in Gainesville, GA.
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