A bright, white and attractive smile is on virtually every patient’s wish list, and thanks to advances in dental technology, it is easier and more affordable to improve the color of our teeth than ever before. In fact, it is estimated that we spent more than $1.4billion on over-the-counter teeth whitening products during the last year and that number is set to continue to rise. It also doesn’t take into account the increasing number of patients visiting their dentist for professional, in-office whitening.
So, what can you do to whiten your teeth? There are several options available to you, and which is right for you will depend on how many shades whiter you wish to take your smile, and of course, your budget.
Products containing low levels of whitening agent
The least expensive teeth whitening products are, unsurprisingly, also the least effective. Most are toothpastes, mouthwashes and similar goods that contain very low levels of bleach that should be able to whiten your teeth some. However, since the concentration of bleaching agent is so low, it takes continuous use for a number of weeks or months to see any significant improvement in the color of your teeth. Should you discontinue the use of the product, the results will invariably fade very quickly. Some of these products also contain abrasives that are said to be able to ‘scrub’ the stains from your teeth. Unfortunately, these have been shown to be more harmful than good since they have the potential to cause permanent damage to the enamel of your teeth.
Products containing medium levels of whitening agent
If low levels of whitening agent simply aren’t producing the result that you are looking for, then you may wish to consider over-the-counter whitening kits and take-home whitening trays, which are available from most dentists. These products, while a little more expensive, utilize a higher grade of bleaching agent and therefore produce a more superior and longer-lasting result. Nevertheless, many patients find these solutions tricky to apply themselves. Since the bleaching agent is stronger, it is advised that contact with the gums is avoided as this could irritate and cause pain to these soft tissues. However, many patients find that this is almost impossible to achieve. It is also very difficult to apply the bleaching agent consistently across the teeth yourself, and this can lead to a patchy result.
In-office teeth whitening for maximum brightness
If you have severely discolored or stained teeth that can’t be improved sufficiently using other methods, or if you simply want the best results with the lowest risks to your surrounding teeth and soft tissue, then in-office whitening is the solution for you. The whitening procedure is carried out by your dentist in their offices, and this enables your professional to use the highest approved grade of bleaching, helping you to achieve a superior result after even just one appointment. Your dentist also has unique access to your teeth, minimizing the contact of the bleaching agent with your gums and ensuring you get the most consistent lightening across all of your teeth.
In-office teeth whitening is considered to be the most effective and deliver the most superior and longest-lasting results of all whitening treatments.
Maintaining your whiter smile
Teeth whitening isn’t a permanent solution, and if you don’t look after your new, brighter smile then you will quickly find that discoloration sets in. Try and cut back on foods and drinks that contain tannins, such as coffee, red wine and red berries as these naturally stain your teeth. Make sure that you brush properly at least twice each day, and use a whitening, non-abrasive toothpaste to help maintain your new smile. Your dentist will also be able to give you additional tips for looking after the color and condition of your teeth during your regularly-scheduled appointments.
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