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What You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

Are you happy with your smile? Many patients wish their teeth could be straighter, more uniform, or whiter. Of the three common complaints, the color of your teeth is generally the simplest fix. There are several different types of teeth whitening that you might consider in your quest to achieve a lighter, brighter smile. It’s always best to talk to your dentist first, because he or she can advise you based on your own specific circumstances.

Over the Counter Teeth Whitening Products

Walk down any pharmacy’s tooth care aisle and you’re bound to see several types of whitening products. These range from whitening toothpastes to whitening gels to bleaching trays. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to use in the convenience of your own home. Win win, right?

While these are good for many people who want to achieve a bit of whitening, they won’t be able to take care of deep staining or heavy discoloration. Also, these products sometimes cause some sensitivity or gum irritation. If these occur, stop using them and contact your dentist.

Custom Bleaching Trays

Your dentist can take impressions of your teeth and have a lab fabricate custom bleaching trays for you. You’d put bleaching solution in the trays and apply them for the time and frequency recommended by your dentist. Since the dentist will choose the type of bleaching solution that is right for your level of staining and your specific situation, you should see the results that your dentist tells you to expect. These can also cause some sensitivity and gum irritation. Because the trays fit your teeth perfectly, however, the solution is less likely to get onto your gums to cause a problem.

Internal Tooth Bleaching

If you have had a root canal treatment on one of your front teeth, you might notice that it is darker than the other teeth in the area. This can sometimes be remedied by having your dentist remove a bit of the root canal filling and bleaching out the crown part of the tooth. This has to be done in-office and involves the use of an ultraviolet light or a laser. Talk to your dentist about whether this is an option for you.

No matter what type of teeth whitening you are using, be sure to avoid foods and beverages that are likely to stain your teeth during the treatment. This means that you should not be drinking large amounts of coffee, black tea or red wine, and you also should not enjoy a slice of blueberry pie right after removing your bleaching trays. Keep up with your oral hygiene regimen by brushing and flossing regularly, and be sure to see your dentist twice per year (or more frequently if you have any problems) so he or she can monitor your progress.

Creative Commons image by Luciane Lazzaris