Across the world, teeth whitening is consistently the most popular cosmetic dental procedure, year after year. With dozens of products available in both dental offices and over-the-counter, the accessibility is unprecedented. The ease in which the products can be applied without the risk of major side effects also contributes to the popularity of teeth whitening, as well as the overall affordability.
Teeth whitening happens as a result of oxygenating the microscopic furrows and pits in the enamel, or surface of the teeth. These tiny fissures collect enough pigmented food particles over time to stain the teeth an even yellow or brownish hue. Use of coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco products commonly leads to discoloration of the teeth. Whitening products contain a peroxide-based solution that, when applied, reacts with the stain-causing particles and breaks them into even smaller pieces that can easily be rinsed away from the enamel.
While the teeth whitening merchandise found in pharmacies and retail stores is made with the same chemicals as professional products, the over-the-counter ingredients are typically not as concentrated as those used in dental offices. This makes whitening the teeth at home more affordable, but the results are less dramatic and take longer to appear and to maintain. Professional-grade products, on the other hand, are generally more expensive at the outset, but the effects are immediate, often taking teeth up to eight shades whiter and last several months longer before another treatment is required. A whitening appointment typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes, whereas kits used at home can require several months of consistent use and the application is carefully monitored by trained professionals. This disproportion in results can make the overall cost of a professional whitening session comparable to at-home treatments.
Teeth whitening done in a professional dental setting is a safe, effective way to brighten your smile. It's also perhaps the most economical cosmetic dental procedure. Depending on the whitening method you choose, results can be dramatic: in-office whitening, for example, can lighten teeth three to eight shades in a single hour.
Professionally supervised whitening will work faster, and protect sensitive gums and tooth-root surfaces better, than over-the-counter whitening products. Having an oral exam before you begin any whitening process is an important first step to make sure your tooth discoloration is not the result of a dental condition in need of treatment. Also, please be aware that it can be risky to have whitening solutions applied to your teeth by untrained personnel in shopping malls. If you have any questions about which whitening method would be best for you, talk to us first.
Professional Methods For Teeth Whitening In Hartford CT
Professional whitening makes use of high-concentration bleaching gels that are not available over the counter.
In-Office Whitening — This technique offers the fastest results with the most powerful whitening solutions available. First, your gums and tooth-root surfaces will be covered with a protective barrier to ensure your safety. A thin plastic device known as a retractor will hold your lips and cheeks away from your teeth as a professional-strength hydrogen peroxide gel is applied. The gel will be left on for about an hour. When it is removed, the results will be obvious immediately.
- Take-Home Whitening — This is another effective way to whiten your teeth, though you will play a greater role in ensuring the best possible results and several weeks may be needed to achieve your desired level of whiteness. First, a mold of your teeth will be taken and then two thin, flexible plastic mouth trays will be custom-made for you — one for the top teeth and one for the bottom. You will fill the trays with whitening gel and then position the trays over your teeth. The trays are left in usually for about an hour at a time.
Caring for Your Whitened Smile
There are lots of things you can do to make sure your whitening results last as long as possible, and this will vary from person to person (six months to two years or even longer). First of all, please maintain your usual, conscientious routine of brushing and flossing every day, and keep up with your regular schedule of professional cleanings at the dental office. Avoid foods and beverages that stain, including red wine, tea and coffee. If you smoke, use your newly whitened teeth as an impetus to quit — a good idea in any event! A minor touch-up every so often, either at home or at the dental office, can keep your smile bright and beautiful for years.
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