Bleaching Your Teeth
Many people today are interested in bleaching, or whitening, their teeth. It is an inexpensive way to create a bright, white smile! There are many over-the-counter products available, but the safest and most effective means of bleaching remains the dentist-supervised bleaching treatment.
Teeth naturally darken as you age due to exposure to substances that are taken in your mouth every day. Some examples include coffee, tea, colas and tobacco. These type of yellow, brown and orange stains respond best to bleaching. Tetracycline stains (gray), while these stains will lighten, typically do not respond as well.
There are two methods by which your dentist can bleach your teeth. The first, and most popular way, is a supervised at-home kit. The second is laser bleaching done in the dental office.
The at-home kit consists of trays constructed from impressions taken of the mouth. Bleaching gel is placed in the tray and worn in the mouth. Though there are bleaches that can be used during the day, most have you insert the trays in your mouth at bedtime and let the gel work while you sleep, rinsing the trays, and your mouth, in the morning. This is done for about two weeks, with the dentist monitoring your progress, and obtains a great result. Costs for this procedure can vary from office to office. Contact your dentist for further information.
Laser bleaching is an in-office method by which the gums are protected and the dentist places the bleaching agent on the teeth, at which time a special heat light (laser) is applied to activate the bleach. It is the fastest and most expensive method of bleaching.
Depending on your personal habits, bleaching can last for many years. Touch up kits are available from your dentist to maintain your white, bright teeth. Your dentist or dental hygienist can help determine how often you should touch up your smile. Twice-daily brushing, daily flossing and regular dental checkups will help keep bleached teeth white.
Tooth whitening toothpastes are on the market and are often confused for bleaching agents. While tooth whitening pastes help keep your teeth brighter by helping to prevent stains from accumulating, they will not significantly change the shade of your teeth. They are excellent to use following completion of your bleaching treatment to help keep your teeth white and bright.