Dental discoloration is something very common despite the brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. The food we eat, environmental factors and the passage of time will eventually take a toll on the natural brightness of the teeth. These days there are more whitening options than before. A professional treatment by an experienced dentist is any day better than over-the-counter products. Cosmetic dentistry has advanced to the level of transforming the entire dental structure to give you a brighter and aligned smile.
The process of brightening up your teeth and making it clean and white is called teeth whitening. The procedure is ideal for people who have unreconstructed teeth and gums (no fillings), especially for individuals who would like to perk up their smiles which have been tainted by discoloration.
3 Main Teeth Whitening Methods:
1. Laser Whitening – This is an in-office method exclusively done in a dental office. Laser and peroxide-based whitening give dramatic results. Gums, lips and oral tissues are protected using precautionary measures because of the high concentration of bleach in the gel.
2. Teeth Whitening Trays – These can either be availed from a dentist or over-the-counter. A considerable difference can be seen from the whitening trays which have peroxide-based whitening. Trays are made according to the client’s upper and lower teeth. The trays are worn for few hours as prescribed by the dentist or for series of days or weeks as the effect of whitening process takes place.
3. Bleaching Treatments – The procedure does not require more than one visit. A protective gel is applied by the dentist before the application of a bleach. Whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide brightens the teeth as it lessens the concentration of color in your teeth.
In-Office treatment vs OTC Methods
The teeth whitening products used in In-office and over-the-counter methods are eligible when they have ADA seal of acceptance which makes the product scientifically assessed, safe and effective.
Though there are many over-the-counter products to opt for these days, professional dentist supervised treatment is always safer and has more effective results. The concentration level of bleach used in in-office method is higher, therefore, the results are more effective. Results of over-the-counter methods last only for a couple of months, whereas the effects of the in-office treatments last for a year. There are many whitening products available to consumers both from a dentist as well as from retail outlets, such as gels, tray-based tooth whiteners, paint-on materials and bleaching strips and others. The concentration level and the composition of active ingredient may vary depending on the form of the product and how they are applied. A lot of precautionary measures are taken to protect your gums when you opt for an in-office treatment. Over- the- counter products are supposed to be used for a period of 2-4 weeks whereas in-office professional procedure takes just about an hour.
Take home methods for teeth whitening is quite effective, but the in-office treatments offer dramatic results. Dentists may at times combine in-office treatment and take-home methods for drastic and long-lasting results. Using over-the-counter methods without consulting a dentist may lead to root sensitivity and give you an undesirable bluish shade or leave you with uneven whiteness. Consulting a dentist before opting for any professional teeth whitening procedure is essential for the safety of gum tissues and effectiveness of the treatment.
Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first-hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or have a Sunday cook-out with friends.