One of the number one dental treatments requested in recent years is teeth whitening. The print media and Hollywood promotes actors and singers with pearly white teeth. With these high profile individuals staring out with dazzling smiles, from every direction, it is understandable that the average person would wish to replicate this.
Luckily, you do not need to be rich, or a superstar, to afford great looking white teeth. There are a wide range of whitening techniques available, suitable for any budget. Below is a brief explanation of how teeth become stained in the first place, followed by explanations of the most common teeth whitening techniques.
How Do Teeth Become Discoloured?
For some people, their teeth are just naturally a darker, more yellow shade. But for many, other factors have contributed to dull their bright smiles.
The most common way teeth become stained is diet. Some of the most popular foods are the biggest problems. Tea, coffee and wine are major culprits and most people drink them every day. In addition to this, colas and other sweets, plus other high sugar items may contribute to teeth staining. Of course, you can probably not eliminate these foods and beverages from your diet, but minimising them will be good for your health and your teeth.
At Home Whitening
There is a wide range of whitening products that you can purchase from chemists, or even supermarkets. These are not all necessarily effective and finding a good one can be a difficult task.
A much more effective option is to have a professional home whitening kit made by your dentist. They will take a mould of your teeth and make you a ‘tray’ that will be re-useable and fits your mouth perfectly. You then line this tray with a professional grade whitening gel. Depending on the whitening solution used, the trays will be left in for just a couple of hours or even overnight.
The most common procedure that can be performed by a dentist, or dental hygienist, to whiten your teeth is called a ‘scale and polish’. This is a temporary treatment which will clean your teeth and make them appear cleaner and whiter.
Obviously, this is not a long term solution. Constantly returning to the dentist for a scale and polish each time you need your teeth whitened will cost a lot of money!
Laser whitening is a process which uses a laser coupled with a light activated whitening gel. This can be done with two consultations – one to explain the process and see if you are suitable and a second to actually perform the procedure. For laser whitening, the results are generally instantaneous.
Your gums and face will first be protected with the use of shields and then the whitening gel is applied to your teeth. The laser is then targeted at each tooth in turn, activating the gel and whitening your teeth in the process.
At the end of the procedure, the dentist will judge how many shades lighter your teeth have become. Although results are instantaneous, you may need multiple procedures to achieve the shade you desire. This procedure is not permanent, but it is longer lasting than a scale and polish.