Most of us desire shiny, white teeth. Not only for the cosmetic appeal, but also as an indicator of good overall dental health. Over time, your teeth can yellow for several reasons including smoking, diet, and everyday wear and tear. The good news is that most teeth can be whitened.
Over-the-counter whitening products come in several forms including toothpaste, gels, mouth rinses, and strips. They cost less than professional treatments and do not require a trip to the dentist. Professional treatments, however, are personalized treatments, because your dentist will make custom impressions of your teeth. They will use those impressions to make a model of your teeth, and from that model, they will create custom trays that will fit over your teeth perfectly, ensuring an even whitening while protecting your gums from exposure to the whitening gel.
Why Professional Whitening?
In addition to receiving a customized treatment, which is safer and more reliable, the concentration of the whitening gel is considerably higher. You will receive better results in a shorter time frame. Another benefit of professional whitening is that your dentist will be able to discuss the procedure with you. For example, did you know that tooth-colored fillings and crowns do not whiten? If you have those types of fillings or crowns, your dentist can discuss other options for those teeth that will allow you to have a whiter smile.
Teeth Whitening Facts
If you are considering professionally whitening your teeth, here are some other things you should know:
- It won't make always your teeth brilliant white, but it will lighten the existing color by several shades.
- Your dentist will examine your teeth and make sure they are healthy enough for treatment.
- If your teeth are sensitive to the treatment, try using toothpaste to reduce the effects.
- The results are not permanent, and the length of time (up to three years) varies from person to person based on diet and personal habits such as smoking.
- Having your teeth professionally cleaned before treatment to remove surface stains can yield even better whitening results.
If you are considering whitening your teeth, it is important to keep in mind that OTC teeth whiteners are not classified as drugs, so the FDA does not regulate them. It is best that you discuss your concerns about the color of your teeth with your dentist and follow their advice regarding the type of treatment you should use.