A smile of a person can definitely be very attractive especially when that smile comes with a perfectly set teeth that are sparkling white. More and more people are now conscious of the color of their teeth. Hence, most dental visits include teeth whitening services. Pharmaceuticals have also developed teeth whitening kits that can be bought over the counter and self administered at home.
Teeth whitening is a procedure that removes the stains or the discoloration of the teeth by bleaching to make the teeth whiter. This can be done in either of two ways. First, by a dentist which would require 2 to 3 appointments with each session lasting 30 – 90 minutes depending on the stains of your teeth and how white you want your teeth to be after the procedure. Second, by a over-the-counter teeth whitening kit done at home.
For an in-office technique, your medical history will be important. This will tell your dentist how your teeth got stained and will help him determine what kind of treatment regimen to use. The most common whitening agent used is hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide may be harmful to the soft tissues in your mouth when used in high concentration. Hence, a protective gel will be applied first to protect the soft tissues in your mouth like your gums and lips. This is followed by the hydrogen peroxide solution. The concentration may vary depending on the staining of your teeth and how white you want them to be after the procedure.
Some dentists use a whitening agent which is heat or light sensitive. A special light is shone over the teeth for a brief period of time after the whitening agent is applied. However, the latest innovation is the use of lasers to whiten the teeth. This technology is still new and there are no published data regarding its safety and effectiveness.
Still other dental hygienist use a combination of hydrogen peroxide and laser to achieve better and more immediate results. The cost can be expected to be more expensive as compared to a single procedure.
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At-home whitening involves purchasing a kit which includes a tray, also called a mouthguard. The oxidizing or whitening agent which has a relatively lower concentration than the agent used by dentists is placed on the tray. The tray is then fitted into the mouth for an hour to two or overnight. The disadvantage of home technique is when the mouthguard is ill-fitting and some parts of the teeth are not evenly covered by the whitening agent resulting to an unevenly white teeth.
With the increase of over-the-counter whitening agents, it is advisable that before embarking on improving that smile by whitening one’s teeth, one should see a dentist for evaluation and advice on which technique is more appropriate for the removal of those unsightly stains on one’s teeth.