In short, the act of whitening teeth is very much as it sounds: the natural colour of an individual’s teeth is lightened, leaving them looking brighter and cleaner. Rather than being perfectly white and in turn looking unnatural, the teeth will simply be a lighter shade of the original colour.
The food we eat, the drinks we consume and other orally-focussed habits such as smoking can all colour our teeth, making them appear darker and less clean. On top of this, some people will simply have teeth that are naturally less white, whilst others may show signs of tooth decay that manifest as spots on the teeth. By getting the teeth professionally bleached, individuals will be able to get teeth that look far more attractive and far healthier at the very same time. After such a procedure teeth can remain sparkling and gleaming for up to three years, especially if individuals are conscious of their eating and drinking habits and consider kicking the smoking monkey they may have on their back.
There are different ways to whiten teeth from procedures carried out in the dentist’s room to ones carried out at home, and different approaches will better suit different people. However, one option that should be avoided is that of buying over-the-counter kits. Not only is it best to let your dentist tell you exactly which procedure is most suitable for you and your own teeth, but products sold over the counter are likely to be more damaging to teeth, and may not even have been proven to be safe. Furthermore, the majority will contain far too little of the active ingredients to really be effective and so not only might you be risking the health of your teeth by using them, but you may also fail to achieve anything resembling the smile you had in mind.
There will still be home treatments available that your dentist can supervise. Such procedures will usually take anywhere between a fortnight and one month to complete, but your dentist will guide you through the necessary steps to take, and a handful of visits to the dentist are likely to be necessary. For those wishing to get quicker results, ‘chair-side whitening’ will be much quicker, being carried out by your dentist there and then and taking around two hours to complete.
Teeth whitening may well cause a few side effects due to the chemicals present in the products applied. However, the effects are likely to be fairly minimal and, when procedures are carried out professionally, should only last a few days. Side effects can include increased sensitivity, especially to cold, as well as sore throats and potential discomfort around the gums.
Teeth whitening will not always be suitable for individuals either, another reason why it is important to take the advice of your dentist. It will only lighten existing colour and will not work on any type of false teeth, including crowns and veneers.
Whilst some will suggest avoiding whitening toothpaste, they can still be effective at removing stains even if they will not actually ‘whiten’ your teeth. Be sure to always use a quality product though, and one that has been scientifically approved.
After teeth have been whitened, both teeth and gums will look and feel far cleaner, and to get the most out of the procedure you will want to keep them that way. Try cutting down on any food or drink that has been shown to stain teeth and ensure that you floss daily, brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cutting down on sugary snacks and choosing to chew gum with xylitol between meals may also help.
Finally, whilst seeing your dentist about the procedure will be vital, going back for regular check ups after will also be extremely important, so don’t let appointments slip just because you now have cleaner, brighter gnashers.