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Teeth Whitening - Dental Procedures Reviewed

Mar 5, 2008
Tooth discoloration is something that troubles most of us. It can be caused by many factors including smoking, drinking coffee, certain medicines, tooth injury and even minerals found in ordinary drinking water. However, it needn't remain a problem for long as help is at hand in the form of a variety of whitening techniques, from the inexpensive to the more expensive procedures.

It should be pointed out that teeth whitening is a dental procedure that is purely cosmetic in nature. It is not necessary to have brilliant white teeth for you to remain in good health.

Teeth whitening embraces a range of dental procedures designed to change tooth color from a state of discoloration to a whiter shade. Achieving brilliant whiteness, whilst possible, is not always achievable. Simple tooth whitening procedures include employing a whitening toothpaste, gel or whitening strips available from many stores. More sophisticated procedures involve a visit to your dentist who will discuss with you the options available, which will include bleaching and laser whitening.

What to expect from a whitening procedure depends very much upon the type of discoloration already present, not to mention the health of the teeth. Employing some of the more basic products will produce only very slight changes, whilst procedures carried out in your dentist's office, particularly bleaching and laser whitening, will have a much greater effect in enhancing overall whiteness.

Several products, such as whitening toothpastes, will only be limited in their effect, since they can only address superficial discoloration of the teeth, and will not whiten more deeply. However the bleaching process can whiten teeth more deeply, addressing discoloration caused by other health factors, even inherited discoloration. But whatever the whitening process, creating a uniform whiteness of a tooth which was not uniform on color at the outset, is much more difficult to achieve.

Basic teeth whitening procedures, such as by paste and gel will simply remove superficial stains. But in the dentist's chair, the bleaching process is more effective. This is done by fitting a tray over the teeth which contains a gel of carbamide peroxide. As the gel breaks down, it releases oxygen into the teeth. The oxygen has the effect of bleaching the teeth and removing many discolorations. It can be quite penetrating although the tooth structure is unaffected and fillings, crowns and other bondings will not be changed. The bleaching system can work great with yellowed teeth, but much less well with other discolorations.

Tooth whitening does not last for ever and, if the source of the discoloration is not removed, then over time the initial discoloration will start to return. To limit this, it will be necessary to repeat the whitening procedure at intervals. Note that although some bleaching and laser procedures can be carried out in one visit to the dental surgery, it is sometimes necessary for the whitening process to be carried out over a period of time.

The cost of tooth whitening procedures varies considerably from product to product and from dentist to dentist; from a couple of dollars for a tube of whitening toothpaste to many hundreds of dollars for bleaching and laser whitening, with the whole gamut of prices in between. Whitening your teeth at home is obviously the cheaper option and a variety of kits are available for purchase which do just that. Alternatively, your dentist might have available slightly more powerful whitening agents that you can buy. However the best results will normally be obtained by having your dentist carry out the procedure using the latest technology. Obviously at a certain cost, but there will normally be a big difference in results. Unfortunately, since a purely cosmetic procedure, insurance is unlikely to cover tooth whitening.

So we've now discussed several of the tooth whitening options available. However, before deciding upon a course of action to whiten your teeth, you would be well advised to consult with your dentist first, who will be able to advise which treatments will be the most effective for your particular situation and the nature of your tooth discoloration and tooth health.
About the Author
For further information on caring for your teeth, oral hygiene and London dental veneers, please contact a professional holistic dentist and cosmetic dentist london.
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