If you’re smart, you’re make regular visits to the dentist’s office. You don’t want your teeth to suffer any maladies. Usually people see the dentist a couple of times for a checkup, cleaning, and to get any cavities they might have filled. One thing people should realize though, is that the same dentist that repairs and cleans their teeth can also help them improve their smile. If you’ve been self-conscious about your smile for any reason, what do you have to lose by asking your dentist about cosmetic procedures? Many of the smile correction treatments available are simple, fast, and painless. Today we’re going to take a closer look at one treatment in particular.
Dental whitening for cosmetic smile restoration is one of the most commonly used methods for improving the quality of smiles. It’s actually an ancient practice; thousands of years ago Romans were attempting to whiten their teeth using goat’s milk and even urine! It’s obvious that humans have been placing a high value on flawless smiles for an incredibly long time. Remember that there is a difference between whitening and bleaching. The latter can usually only be performed at a dentist’s office and involves whitening teeth beyond natural levels.
When it’s comes to having one’s teeth whitened, there are a wide variety of options. Many people take a chance on over-the-counter options, as the methods are incredibly diverse. Others prefer to seek the assistance of a professional. A cosmetic dentist is always a great choice for teeth whitening services. They tend to get the best results, as they have access to certain processes that others do not. A dentist will use a special gel containing hydrogen peroxide at very high levels. The peroxide acts as the cleaning agent, breaking down stain deposits and wiping them away from teeth. It’s time to explore teeth whitening in a little bit closer detail. First, let’s look at what causes teeth to stain in the first place.
The Causes of Staining on Teeth
You may be surprised by some of the products that can lead to discoloration of teeth, while others should be fairly obvious. It may be hard to completely avoid some of the things listed, but often times moderation will suffice to curb the issue.
Have a look at some of the more common causes of teeth discoloration and yellowing or darkening:
- Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco is one of the most severe causes of browning and yellowing
- Getting Older – after about age 50 teeth begin to significantly darken
- Conditions like enamel hypoplasia – a deficiency leading to thin layers of enamel on teeth
- Beverages including wine, coffee, tea, colas, and sports drinks
- Fluorosis – a condition where teeth are stained due to overconsumption of fluoride
- Chlorhexidine – chemical that can yellow teeth found in mouthwashes used to fight gum diseases and bad breath.
That’s quite a long list of items that can possibly darken, yellow, or otherwise discolor your teeth. Brush your teeth often, especially if you’ve recently consumed or had contact with any of the substances. Smokers should take particular caution, brushing as often as possible. Overall it’s up to you how much you let substances affect your teeth, but other things, like age, are unavoidable. If you’re concerned with the color of your teeth find a teeth whitening dentist right away.
- The Natural Approach – Many people like to avoid using man-made chemicals and processes on their teeth. There are some natural substances, such as malic acid, that have been found to aid in whitening. Apples, which contain malic acid, are believed to contribute to teeth whiteness. Celery and carrots are also used as natural whitening agents.
- In-home (OTC) – Over-the-counter whitening devices have become incredibly popular over the last several years. The American Dental Association (ADA) has actually approved a wide list of these products as safe. Options includes, gels, chewing gum, strips, rinses and washes, and toothpastes. They are not guaranteed to work and the ADA does not maintain that they do, only that they are safe for use by humans. They often cheaper, but not as powerful as alternative methods.
- In-office – You will find that many dentists offer a wide variety of cosmetic services, especially teeth whitening. A dentist has access to gels that are quite powerful and have a long history of getting results. They have a hydrogen peroxide gel that has a much higher peroxide concentration than over-the-counter treatments available. Because of this the patient’s gums and mouth are often painted with a light-cured protective layer to prevent chemical burns. Seeing a dental professional is probably the safest and most effective ways to whiten your teeth.
- Non-Dental In-office – Many different spas, therapy centers, salons, or even mall kiosks offer teeth whitening services. Be cautious, as these options require letting someone who is not a dentist to work with chemicals on your teeth. I wouldn’t recommend using these services.
When it comes to teeth whitening, safety is the best policy. Consult with your dentist before undergoing any procedures.