Getting Your Teeth Their Whitest and Brightest – Teeth Whitening Options

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Everyone knows that bright, white teeth are a key factor in making your smile look its best! However, we also realize that lifestyle plays an important role in this. Our favorite beverages, such as coffee, tea, soda, and red wine are things that many of us can’t imagine living without, yet they leave unsightly stains on the teeth. Also, with age comes gradual yellowing of the teeth as well. So what do we do? Well, there is great news! With the help of a dentist, you can get a natural-looking, white smile with ease. The dentine underneath our tooth enamel is what ultimately determines the color of teeth, as the enamel itself is translucent. When we use whitening options, the bleach penetrates the enamel resulting in the bright smile that we all desire. The process is simple, and can be done either in the office or conveniently at home. Let’s take a look at the best teeth whitening options that are available.

What Causes the Teeth to Yellow or Turn Darker?

Before we begin, it is important to understand exactly what causes discoloration of the teeth. Aside from the above-mentioned factors, discoloration of the teeth can be caused by:

  • Medication – the use of certain medications can cause discoloration of the teeth, such as certain antibiotics and antihistamines.
  • Some fruits and vegetables, especially those that are acidic, can cause the teeth to yellow or stain.

While it is difficult to completely avoid every situation that may cause staining, there are simple changes that are easy to make to your daily routine in order to prevent yellowing.

Teeth Whitening Options

When you look in the mirror and realize that your teeth look slightly yellow, you will wonder what your options are. A dentist has several procedures that can be used to effectively remove stains and whiten the teeth. He or she will discuss what the best option is for the needs of each patient. The whitening is done with either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Options include:

  • Bleaching that is done in-office – known as chairside bleaching, this process is easy and can be completed in one visit. It is painless and typically takes up to one hour. The result is teeth that are several shades whiter.
  • At-home bleaching – your dentist will provide custom-made trays that you take home. Bleach is applied to the trays, and they are worn according to the dentist’s instructions.

While teeth bleaching is typically painless, it can cause some sensitivity, so it is best to speak to your dentist if you have any concerns.

Procedure and Cost

Before a specific type of procedure is chosen for whitening the teeth, your dentist will perform an evaluation to determine which type of bleaching is best for you. He or she will talk to you about your lifestyle, how you plan to maintain the results, as well as take note of any dental work that you have had done.

Two of the main concerns for anyone who is considering teeth whitening is what is involved in the procedure, as well as the overall cost. Chairside bleaching is one of the most popular forms of teeth whitening. Keep in mind that this procedure does not work on veneers, crowns, or bonding. Using a hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching gel, the dentist will use intense light on the teeth for approximately 45 minutes. The light and the gel work together to penetrate the enamel of the teeth, breaking up stains and leaving a clean, white finish. This process can cost about $500 or more and is extremely effective.

For patients that choose the option of at-home bleaching, keep in mind that at least 2 appointments are typically necessary. During the first appointment, the dentist will take molds of the patient’s teeth for the purpose of creating custom trays. The patient will then be provided with a bleaching gel, and shown how to apply it to the trays and wear in the mouth for 30 minutes or so each day for approximately two weeks. The gel penetrates the tooth enamel, breaking up stains. This procedure is effective at removing stains and can cost approximately $300 or more.

Teeth-whitening options that are supervised by a dentist are safe for just about anyone.

Maintaining White Teeth After Professional Treatment

It is important for anyone who receives a professional teeth whitening procedure to be well-informed of how to maintain white teeth after the treatment is completed. Now that you have that bright, white smile you have always wanted, you need to make sure you keep it that way for as long as possible. The best way to begin is to avoid food and drinks that can cause long-term stainings, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and soda. Make sure to consume plenty of water throughout the day, as this helps wash away particles that are left in the mouth after eating and drinking other foods and beverages. Be sure you are following the proper teeth brushing techniques as well. Two times per day, using a whitening toothpaste, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums. Brush for at least 2 minutes. Floss each tooth one time per day. Another great tip to remember is to try to enjoy all beverages through a straw. This helps the liquid from saturating the teeth and reduces the chance of staining. Also, it is important to know that teeth whitening, even professional bleaching, will not last forever! You must follow the above-mentioned tips in order to get the most from your procedure. By carefully maintaining the results, the teeth will remain white for several months to several years. However, you may have to visit your dentist for an occasional touch-up.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we understand just how important it is to put your best smile forward. That is why we offer several teeth-whitening options so that, together with your dentist, you can choose the one that is best for you. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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