When dental patients are looking for ways to maintain a beautiful smile, a cosmetic dentist is there to help. For many patients, having teeth that are bright and white is vital. Over time, however, teeth can become stained and dull due to many factors. Stain-causing foods and beverages, such as berries, tea and coffee, are the most common causes. Certain medications, illnesses and injuries, as well as aging and tobacco use, can also discolor teeth.
What tooth-whitening options are available?
There are a variety of ways to whiten teeth. The following are three of the most common tooth-whitening options available.
1. Home whiteners
At-home whiteners are given to dental patients by a cosmetic dentist to use at home. This type of chemical whitener is done using peroxide and comes in a variety of forms, including strips, trays, a brush or a rinse. If trays are used, the dentist will give them for both the upper and lower teeth. Whitening gel is placed in the trays and the patient then wears them for a certain period of time. It is important to follow the dentist’s instructions and use this type of whitener properly.
2. Whitening toothpaste
This whitening option is a special type of toothpaste that contains abrasive ingredients that help remove surface stains on the teeth over a longer period of time. Whitening toothpaste is gentle and usually does not use chemicals, but some varieties do have peroxide and baking soda in them. The whitening toothpastes are not quite as effective as chemical whitening options.
3. Office whitener
This tooth-whitening option is done in a dental office by a cosmetic dentist. This whitener is much stronger than the at-home whiteners as it has more peroxide. In-office whiteners are also able to brighten teeth much faster than at-home whiteners and whitening toothpastes. The tooth-whitening procedure is done in around an hour, and the gums are covered with either a gel or a rubber sheet to protect them. A laser or light is sometimes used alongside the peroxide application.
Patients should be aware that teeth are more susceptible to staining after a whitening treatment. These treatments are not permanent and may need to be done more than once.
Are there any side effects?
There are very few side effects that can occur from tooth-whitening. The main possible side effects include tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, but these are mild and usually only last for a few days after treatment. It is important to follow all dentist and product instructions and to also avoid whitening teeth too often as this can lead to damage to the tooth enamel.
Dental patients who are looking to whiten their teeth can visit a cosmetic dentist to see which option is best for them. At-home whitening, whitening toothpaste and in-office whitening are the most common and successful options available. Restoring a beautiful, white smile has never been easier.