There are lots of reasons why your formerly white teeth may be looking a bit dull. Plaque buildup, eroded enamel, and stains from food and drink can all contribute to a less-than-sparkly smile.
To make matters worse for those with stained teeth, it seems like everyone wants a Hollywood-style smile these days. This trend has resulted in many consumers heading to the drugstore or big-box store counters to search for products that can help them get that blinding white smile at home. Unfortunately, some of these do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits can do significant damage to your teeth and gums, making teeth more sensitive and even stripping enamel in a way that can lead to deterioration down the line.
Your best bet for teeth whitening is a combination of smart at-home oral care coupled with in-office dental whitening treatments that can give you a brilliant smile without the hazards of DIY products. This article will give you the down-low on most of your options so you can make the best choice for your smile — and the health of your teeth.
From at-home products to treatments in your dentist’s office, there are many products you can use to whiten your teeth. If you plan on using an at-home regimen, please talk to your dentist first, especially if you experience sensitive teeth or have lots of fillings, crowns, or dental restorations.
There are two basic ways to go about whitening your teeth. First, there are extrinsic whiteners that use mild abrasives to buff stains from your enamel. Next, there are intrinsic whiteners that use tooth bleaching agents to change the color of your tooth’s enamel.
There are many products sold to help consumers whiten their smiles at home. Most of these make good oral care companions in between professional whitening treatments from your dentist. Here are a few to consider:
Whitening toothpaste can contain a number of ingredients meant to remove surficial stains from tooth enamel. These can include hydroxyapatite, mild abrasives (such as baking soda, calcium carbonate, silica, and activated charcoal), or carbamide and hydrogen peroxide. While inexpensive, overuse can cause issues with your teeth, such as an increased risk of cavities and the destruction of collagen in the teeth.
At-Home Bleaching Systems
You can get decent results from dentist-supervised at-home tooth bleaching systems that feature custom-molded mouthpiece trays that will hold a whitening gel. This tray is designed to minimize the contact of the bleaching gel with your gums to reduce sensitivity. Over-the-counter, at-home systems are less than optimal since one size of trays does not fit every mouth and the bleaching gel irritates tender gum tissues.
In addition to offering a safer experience, a supervised at-home bleaching system allows your dentist to use the bleaching agents that will best correct the type and magnitude of stains present on your teeth.
While the cost of in-office whitening is higher, this method provides a number of benefits that make it worth the extra cost. First, your dentist can ensure that you are a good candidate for tooth whitening treatments since whitening might not be advisable for those with gum disease, tooth decay, or many prosthetics or restorations. Also, in-office systems provide a higher level of safety, and your dentist will correct the intensity and length of treatment to reduce the amount of sensitivity while still providing stellar results. Here are two of our top choices for in-office whitening:
Zoom! Whitening treatments use innovative Blue LED light technology rather than lasers to brighten your smile faster. In addition, the Zoom! System uses Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) to provide increased tooth luster and better enamel protection while reducing overall sensitivity during and after treatment. These in-office treatments are proven to whiten your teeth up to 8 shades in just one 45-minute appointment.
Take-Home Bleaching Trays
As we mentioned earlier, dentist-supervised at-home bleaching is the way to go if you want to save a little bit of money and go slower on the whitening process. You will need to come into the dental office and get fitted for your custom-made bleaching trays. The dentist will take an impression of both your top and bottom teeth and send them to a lab. Once the lab creates your trays, you can return to the office to make sure they are a perfect fit. Your dentist will then provide safe, effective bleaching gel and instructions for how to use it with your trays.
The bonus? You can perform touch-ups at home by simply purchasing additional bleaching gel when your teeth accumulate stains again. And, you will have the experience and guidance of a dental professional in case you experience any adverse events such as tooth or gum sensitivity. Best of all, the tooth whitening process happens over a period of a few weeks, making it perfect for individuals who don’t want to look like they “had work done.”
Are you ready to turn up the wattage on your smile a notch or two? At Downey Dental Arts, we help all our patients in the Downey, CA, area achieve their whitest, brightest smiles in a safe and healthy way. In fact, we offer two whitening options to our patients that far outpace at-home products — the Zoom! Teeth Whitening Treatment for practically instant results or dental bleaching trays for slower, yet still brilliant, results.
For our busy Downey clientele, we offer flexible appointment times to make it easier for you to get access to our state-of-the-art teeth whitening services.
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