So you’ve finally grown tired of your yellowing teeth and you want to do something about it. There are plenty of options available in the world of teeth whitening, from at-home kits to treatments from dentists and even take-home whitening systems that can be used in between visits with your dentist. However, not all of these methods are created equal, so you should know everything you need to know about teeth whitening before you go out and spend your hard-earned money on it.
What Is Tooth Whitening
As we age, our teeth naturally become darker. In order to keep your teeth looking their best and brightest, it’s important that you learn more about teeth whitening—which types of treatments are available, how long it takes for them to work, etc. We’ve got all you need to know! Read on to find out everything you could possibly want to know about teeth whitening.
Today’s teeth-whitening methods have been around since at least 1840, when a dentist named Dr. Horace Wells began using nitrous oxide (N2O) gas as an anaesthetic in dental procedures.
What are the Different Types of Tooth Whiteners
The active ingredient in teeth whiteners comes from hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent that can lighten tooth enamel. Hydrogen peroxide is also found in many toothpastes, but that’s at such low concentrations (0.3% to 0.5%) it won’t do much for your teeth. Most over-the-counter and professional teeth whiteners contain 10% or more of hydrogen peroxide. Some are even as high as 35%. There are three different types of tooth whiteners based on how they release their hydrogen peroxide: gels, strips and trays. Each type has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to understand what they are before deciding which one is right for you.
How does it work
Teeth whitening is a simple process—but before you get started, there are a few things you should know. First, do not attempt teeth whitening if you have any cracks or chips in your enamel. The active ingredient in most teeth-whitening products—hydrogen peroxide—can seriously damage chipped or cracked enamel. If you have any doubts about your teeth’s safety, see your dentist before proceeding with teeth whitening. In addition, keep in mind that teeth whitening will only work on natural tooth enamel; it won’t work on dental veneers or other cosmetic dentistry materials. Also, while some tooth-whitening methods can take as little as an hour to complete, most take several days (or even weeks) of treatment for noticeable results. It can be tempting to give up after just one session and move on to something else—but don’t!
Will tooth whitening hurt
Most teeth whitening procedures are surprisingly painless. The steps vary, but they generally begin with a consultation in which your dentist will determine what type of whitening is right for you. After any necessary numbing (which typically takes place before your treatment), you’ll simply hold an oral tray over your teeth while a peroxide-based gel (also called carbamide peroxide) is activated with light or by brushing. In most cases, there should be minimal discomfort and no lingering sensitivity. But as always, if you experience any severe pain during your procedure, contact your dentist immediately. It could mean that he or she needs to adjust something in order to complete it safely.
Why choose a professional?: When it comes time for teeth whitening, consider going pro—or at least having them do it for you! Your general dentist can assess whether teeth whitening is appropriate for you and offer his or her recommendations based on how severe your discoloration is and how willing you are to wait out results.