White teeth are associated with higher self-esteem, health and success. One method to achieve this goal is teeth whitening which has been gaining increased popularity among men and women alike. It is relatively simple clinically proven and cost-effective procedure that can whiten your teeth up to 14 shades brighter.
Professional teeth whitening techniques
Comprehensive examination by the dentist and professional teeth cleaning are highly recommended prior to any whitening procedure
At home teeth whitening
It is one of the most popular ways to improve your smile. It involves fabrication of a custom made trays that fits the patient teeth. A special whitening gel is applied inside the trays overnight for an average of 2 weeks at the comfort of your home. If the patient decides to use the trays during the day, then 2-4 hours would be the recommended application time. At home whitening provides simple and predictable teeth whitening. It also allows future whitening top ups when needed. This technique can be used to whiten severely discoloured teeth by extending the application
In-surgery teeth whitening
This technique provides immediate teeth whitening following an hour dental appointment. It involves covering the lips and gums with special barrier leaving only the teeth exposed. Then, the whitening gel is applied to the teeth and activated by different methods including special light (including zoom, brite smile), heat or laser. While you are waiting for the gel to work, you can relax by watching a DVD or listen to a music of your choice. Although the achieved result of this technique is immediate, there maybe a colour rebound within a week of the procedure. In addition, more tooth sensitivity maybe experienced
In many occasions, it is recommended to follow the in-office whitening with a course of home whitening. This is referred to as
super teeth whitening
In special cases e.g. when a tooth is discoloured following to root canal treatment, a procedure called Walking-whitening (walking bleach) can be provided. This included the application of special whitening gel inside the tooth. This gel may need to be replaced in more than one visit allowing the tooth to be whitened back to its natural colour.
Teeth Whitening After care
It is recommended to avoid smoking, dark food and beverages during and for at least a week following to teeth whitening. Maintenance application using at home technique is recommended once a year to keep your teeth sparkling. Finally, practicing excellent plaque control by brushing and flossing is highly
Over the counter teeth whitening products
Wide choice of over the counter whitening products in various forms and concentrations is available. However, there are some doubts about their clinical effectiveness and regarding potential abusive use of these agents.
Which teeth whitening material is better?
The most commonly used whitening materials for at home whitening is carbmide peroxide (10-35%) due to its slow acting nature. Hydrogen peroxide (6-40%) is more powerful and fast acting and is preferred for in-office whitening. The use of a higher concentration makes no difference to the final result but it may be combined with higher risk of tooth sensitivity.
Safety and complications
Millions of patients have been using teeth whitening with no significant adverse effect. Mild temporary gum irritation and an increase in teeth sensitivity to might be experienced both of which stops upon treatment completion.
The use of whitening techniques is not limited to an age. Whilst, it is rarely needed to whiten baby teeth, older children with mixed dentition can have their teeth whiten especially where teeth discoloration is affecting the child social or self-esteem developments.
Although there is no scientific evidence against whitening with pregnant or breast-feeding mothers, it is usually not recommended.
Tooth whitening limitation
Tooth whitening is only affective on natural teeth. It will not change the colour of any existing fillings or crowns. Furthermore, visible roots will not respond the same way the remaining parts of the tooth. If a change to teeth shape and colour is desired other forms of cosmetic dentistry will be needed separately or combined with teeth whitening including bonding techniques or veneers.
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