What to Know About Whitening Your Teeth

Thanks to advancements in cosmetic dentistry, you can choose from many procedures to give you the beautiful smile you have always wanted. If your main concern is stains and discoloration, tooth whitening may be a great option to consider. Before you buy something from your local pharmacy, however, check out these facts you need to know about whitening your teeth.

Whitening Treats Many Stains

Your teeth may change color for many reasons, but stains come in two main categories.  They are either extrinsic (on the exterior of the tooth) or intrinsic (on the interior of the tooth). Extrinsic stains are often caused by foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and foods that stain.   If you smoke, the tar and nicotine in the cigarettes may make your teeth look yellow or brown.

Intrinsic stains may be caused from trauma to the tooth, which can darken the underlying tooth structure.  Your teeth may also naturally change color as you age, making them appear darker or duller. Other causes of intrinsic stains include exposure to too many minerals or certain antibiotics while the teeth are still forming. While extrinsic stains react best to teeth whitening, professional whitening is getting better at improving intrinsic stains as well.

Over-the-Counter Products Vary in Effectiveness

You may be tempted to try an over-the-counter product to whiten your teeth, and in some cases, this is an excellent idea. For example, if you only have mild stains, over-the-counter strips and gels can be perfect to slowly brighten your smile. Whitening toothpaste may also perform well for certain patients.  However, they can be abrasive which can increase sensitivity and gingival recession.

If you have a lot of discoloration or need to whiten your teeth fast, over-the-counter products may be too slow or too weak. If you decide an over-the-counter option is the right choice for you, make sure to research the product first and that it has the approval of the American Dental Association.

Professional Whitening Is Fast and Safe

The fastest way to whiten your smile is with an in-office whitening session.  This a more expensive option but initial results occur within just a couple of hours.  So, if time is not on our side, then the in-office whitening may be the best option.  However, tooth sensitivity can be a more significant issue with this system.  Also, this whitening process is maintained with a take home whitening system.  So unless you are racing against the clock, the take home system is a better way to go.

At-Home Professional Treatment Is Possible

The best way to whitening your teeth is with a take-home whitening kit.  This kit involves custom made trays to fit your teeth, and multiple syringes of whitening gel.  The advantage of this kit is that you have best control over the process.  The process usually takes about two weeks to complete with daily whitening sessions for your initial whitening.  This sounds like a long time, but the advantage of multiple exposures of whitening gel over the course of several days helps decrease the risk of sensitivity in your teeth.  Also, you can elect to stop the whitening process when it looks right to you.  This whitening process usually lasts about six months depending on home care, oral habits and patient desires.  To recharge your smile typically takes only just a couple of days.  If you have exhausted your whitening gel supply, you can stop by the office of Silverstone Family Dental in Meridian, Id. to purchase more syringes of whitening gel.

Everyone wants a beautiful white smile, but genetics and habits can cause teeth to stain or become discolored. Luckily, you have many whitening options from which to choose, allowing you to choose the right fit for your smile. If you would like more information about professional in-office or at-home whitening, give us a call today at Silverstone Family Dental.