Teeth whitening is becoming an increasingly popular way to change the appearance of teeth. If you are unhappy with the color of your teeth due to staining, your dentist might be able to help improve your smile. As you discuss options, you may hear the terms “whitening” and “bleaching.” There are similarities and differences between these types of treatments. As you understand how these work and what the benefits are, you can make the right choice and feel good about the way you look.
Factors that lead to discoloration
The desire for teeth whitening is common among adults. Because a person’s smile is one of the first things that others notice, it is important for individuals to have whiter teeth. Teeth can stain because of poor oral hygiene. Failing to brush effectively and regularly can affect the color. People of all ages should brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride-based toothpaste.
Even people who care for their teeth can experience discoloration. An individual’s diet can have the same effect on discoloration. Certain foods such as tomato sauce, soy sauce, and strawberries can stain teeth. Drinking excessive amounts of coffee, wine, and cola can also reduce the whiteness of teeth.
Understanding teeth whitening
People use this term widely to describe changing the color of teeth into the desired color shade. Whitening teeth refers to breaking down the molecules that cause staining and restoring teeth to their natural white color. Whitening works on the tooth’s surface. This changes the color and removes brown, yellow, or black stains.
Though some people confuse the two terms, there are key distinguishing factors. Bleaching works to make teeth even whiter than their natural state. This process can make teeth several shades whiter. Using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide, the dentist can penetrate deep into the tooth to eliminate the unsightly discoloration.
Teeth whitening generally occurs out of the dentist’s office. The patient will use store-bought products to achieve this. Whitening products come in kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes. Whitening strips are another option. These products can yield results after several weeks or months, though the effects can wear off quickly.
For longer-lasting white teeth, bleaching is a good option. This can occur in the dentist’s office. The patient will do a round or two of treatment, each one taking less than an hour. The dentist places a gel of highly concentrated peroxide or carbamide in a mouthpiece. This sits on the person’s teeth, allowing the gel to get deep beneath the enamel layer.
Some patients see whiter teeth almost immediately. If the person maintains good oral hygiene, the bleaching effects can last for a couple of years. Many patients return to the dentist’s office for another treatment a year or two after the initial one. For people who prefer, take-home trays are also available, where the person does bleaching out of the office.
A bright smile awaits
Teeth whitening and bleaching can remove unwanted stains from your teeth. If you are unhappy with the way your teeth look, talk to your dentist today. You can have whiter teeth once again. Make an appointment with your dentist today and see what treatment makes the most sense.
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