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Teeth Whitening: Your Options

Nov 8, 2007
If you're thinking of brightening up your smile, the first person you should talk to is your dentist. Your dentist is the most qualified person to be able to tell you if teeth whitening will actually make a difference for you. In other words, not all people benefit equally because not all discoloration is equal.

For example, if your teeth have a yellowish cast, bleaching them will give you a pretty dramatic improvement in your smile. If your teeth have an overall darker color, say brown, your results may not be as good. If your smile has a gray tint to it, then bleaching may not work at all. Do any of your teeth have caps or dental bonds? Bleaching isn't going to do much for those teeth. Worse yet, you may only draw attention to those specific ones in contrast to others that bleach well. Instead of bleaching you might want to ask your dentist about porcelain veneers.

The next question you want to consider is whether to have your teeth whitened in your dentist's office or at home. If you have the time, "chair-side bleaching" may be for you. Figure on spending 30-60 minutes on each visit. You may also have to make multiple visits. Each time, your dentist will apply some sort of protection to your gums (either a gel or a rubber shield). Then your dentist will put a bleaching solution on your teeth. Sometimes your dentist will shine a special light on the bleach solution to make it work better. This sort of technique is accepted by the American Dental Association for it qualities of safety and utility.

If you cannot (or rather would not) make multiple visits to your dentist's office, you have some options for whitening your teeth at home. Some are over the counter remedies, and others are purchased through your dentist.

These solutions usually contain a bleaching solution called carbamide peroxide. The solution comes in varying concentrations (between 10% - 22%) and literally bleaches your tooth enamel. You will apply this solution in gel form to your teeth by putting the gel in a mouth guard and then wearing it. Depending on the system you purchase, you might wear the mouth guard at night for a couple of weeks. Other systems allow you to wear the mouth guard a couple of times a day for the same length of time. The benefit of purchasing this kind of system from your dentist is that your mouth guard can be custom-fitted. Be aware that the lower concentration of carbamide peroxide (10%) is the only one that is approved by the American Dental Association.

Talk to your dentist about any potential discomfort you may experience while whitening your teeth. Yours might become sensitive to heat and/or cold for some limited period of time. Also, you might experience some irritation of the tissues in your mouth, e.g., your gums and/or mouth. This is usually due to a mouth guard that doesn't fit well or perhaps the bleaching gel came in contact with your mouth.

Lastly, you might want to consider whitening toothpastes. These contain a relatively mild abrasive rather than bleach.

Conclusion:

If you want to brighten your smile, make sure you consider all your options by talking to your dentist first.
About the Author
For more info on Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening , visit Ara Rubyan's Find Local Teeth Whitening.
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