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Explore Your Options For Teeth Whitening

Aug 17, 2007
There's no doubt that a brilliant white smile adds a lot to the way you look and as you age your teeth can lose a bit of their brilliance. Stains from coffee, cigarettes and simply aging can turn your teeth several shades off from what they once were. Luckily there are many options for teeth whitening out on the market. Which one is right for you?

How White Will Your Teeth Get?

When considering teeth whitening many people want to know how white their teeth will get. The level of whiteness you can achieve varies from person to person and from teeth to teeth. In rare cases your teeth can be whitened by up to 9 shades, but it is not likely. However, even just a difference of three or four shades will certainly enhance your smile.

The goal for most people undergoing teeth whitening to reach the optimal level of whiteness, without the teeth looking fake. It is important to note that the method used to whiten your teeth will have a significant impact on your outcome. Home-based teeth whitening systems will not typically achieve the same results as in-office teeth whitening. Usually during your first consult with your dentist about teeth whitening he or she will explain to you what results you can expect for your teeth.

How Much Will It Cost?

You can whiten your teeth at home or go to the dentist and have it done professionally. The do it yourself systems cost around $40.00 and typically require that you use strips or a tray for a week or more every day. Contrary to what you might hear, they DO work but you will have to make the commitment to apply the system every day.

An office visit to the dentist just for one teeth whitening treatment could cost up in the thousand dollar range at some of the more high end offices. But many people prefer to have a professional whiten their teeth to be sure it is "done right" or if they can't commit to using a do it yourself product every day. Depending on the type of treatment your dentist decides is best for you , you could have whiter teeth in just one visit!

Tray Whitening Systems

One common method of teeth whitening is the tray system. This method was the predecessor to today's teeth whitening strips, but is not obsolete as many consumers still use them today. Basically a gel-like substance, made of concentrated hydrogen peroxide and water and gluten to ensure adherence to the teeth, is put in a tray that fit around the teeth of the user. The trays generally come in sizes, or in some cases can be custom fitted for your teeth by your dentist.

Teeth whitening trays generally are worn for several hours during the day, or even overnight. Most people prefer to be awake when using the tray so that they can be sure the tray doesn't fall out, or their mouth gets too dry. In most cases the user is able to carry on normal activities without disruption. As a general rule users don't want to venture outside of their home or car because the trays aren't exactly attractive. They cause the lips to protrude and speech to be muddled.

Whitening Strips

The whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic coated with hydrogen peroxide or some other whitening agent. The teeth whitening agent is typically clear, so the strip itself is transparent. There are two teeth whitening strips in each treatment set, one for the top row of teeth, and one for the bottom. Each is a different size and designed to fit with the corresponding teeth. They can't always perfectly fit the user because everyone's teeth are different, but they are usually comfortable for most people.

The strips are easy to use, you just apply them to the front of your teeth and then fold them over to stay put. The strips are worn for 30 minutes at a time twice a day.

Side Effects Of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is fairly safe and minor side effects can include gum irritation and sensitive teeth. Your gums about the teeth can become irritated when they come in contact with the whitening gel. This will subside once you stop using the whitening product.

Tooth sensitivity is brought on by the inflamed nerve of the tooth. The teeth whitening strips use a chemical that tends to irritate the tooth's nerve and consequently cause the teeth to be sensitive to hot and cold. This is typically temporary and does not require a dentist visit and will subside once the treatment is over.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for Body Care Zone where you can find out more about taking care of yourself and read more articles on teeth whitening and dental care.
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