Do you smile less because you don't want to show your stained or yellowed teeth? Quit denying the world your brightest smile! There are treatment options to create a whiter, brighter smile. Tooth whitening, or dental bleaching, is a procedure which whitens tooth enamel. Age, bacterial pigmentation, coffee, tea, red wine and other foodstuffs, tobacco use and certain medications can all contribute to discolored or darkened teeth. Bleaching procedures use peroxide-based gels solutions, applied directly to the teeth and kept in contact with the tooth enamel, generally using thin trays.
Whitening can be performed at the dental office or by using an at-home whitening kit. Different types of discoloration and staining require different types of whitening treatments. Consult with your dentist to determine the nature of your tooth stains and to determine the best procedures for the whitening results you desire.
In-Office vs. At-Home Whitening:
If you are a good candidate for bleaching, your dentist may recommend either in-office or at-home bleaching procedures. In-office bleaching is a procedure that takes place at your dentist's office and may take more than one visit to complete. Your dentist will apply a protective gel to the soft oral tissues before applying the whitening gel to your teeth. In-office whitening procedures are recommended for individuals with certain types of tooth stains. Discoloration caused by medications, such as tetracycline, can sometimes be lightened by an in-office dental bleaching procedure such as deep bleaching.
However, your dentist may recommend an at-home tooth whitening kit. At-home whitening is more cost effective, but also takes more time. The at-home kit is comprised of a carbamide peroxide whitening solution of at least 10 percent and a mouthguard to keep the solution in contact with the teeth. This solution is applied to the teeth for a prescribed period of time a certain number of days per week. Your dentist will instruct you on the frequency of use of these products. Additionally, your dentist can make a custom fit mouthguard for use with these kits, which allows the solution to be in better contact with your teeth and allows for better results. Only dentist-dispensed home-use 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal.