If you want to enjoy all the benefits of a brighter, more beautiful smile, there’s no easier way to do it that with teeth whitening. This probably comes as no surprise. After all, there are a wide variety of teeth whitening products available online and in almost every supermarket and drugstore.
In fact, there are so many options that it may be difficult to choose which one is right for you. That’s why we’ve compiled the information in this article – to explain the different teeth whitening products available in Cedar Park, Texas, and to help you decide which will work best for you.
What Causes Teeth to Become Stained in the First Place?
There are many different causes for tooth discoloration. Before deciding which teeth whitening product you should use, it’s important to understand why your teeth are discolored to begin with. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry lists the following reasons why teeth become stained:
- Tobacco – Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco stains your teeth.
- Certain beverages – In particular, red wine, coffee, tea and dark-colored sodas are the culprits.
- Certain foods – This includes red sauces and dark-colored fruits like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, for example.
While these are the most common reasons for teeth becoming stained, it’s also possible that the enamel layer of your teeth is compromised. Once that enamel begins to wear down, the dentin layer underneath starts to show through and your teeth take on a yellowish hue. You should know that if your teeth are yellow because of damaged enamel, no whitening product will work – not even professional whitening services provided by your dentist. For people with eroded enamel, many dentists recommend another solution, such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers, for example. Both of these cosmetic procedures can not only restore your teeth to their natural white color; they also add a measure of protection to your teeth for years to come.
Professional Teeth Whitening Services
If you really want to enjoy a whiter smile in the fastest time possible, nothing compares with the effectiveness of professional teeth whitening services provided by your dentist. The procedure usually begins with an initial trip to your dentist, at which time an impression will be made of your teeth. That impression will then be sent out to a dental lab, where a custom-made set of whitening trays will be created. Unlike many over-the-counter options, these custom bleaching trays ensure that the whitening agent comes into contact with the surface of every tooth in your mouth. On your second office visit, once your trays are ready, your dentist will load the trays with a strong whitening agent and insert the trays into your mouth. After that, you’ll wait for some period of time (usually 30 minutes or so) until the whitening agent has had a chance to do its job. Some dentists use either a UV or LED light to speed up and accentuate the whitening process.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Options
If you decide to try an over-the-counter teeth whitening product, there are several different options to choose from, including the following:
- Whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses – Both of these types of products can produce some very modest results if they’re used repeatedly over a long period of time. Most whitening toothpastes contain some form of polish and/or a mild abrasive, and the rinses usually contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (a typical ingredient in teeth whitening products). While it certainly doesn’t hurt to add these whitening products to your daily oral hygiene routine, the change they make in the appearance of your smile will be very, very gradual.
Whitening pens – Most products that fall into this category also offer modest results when compared to professional whitening services provided by a dentist. Still, studies have shown that whitening pens do actually made a difference if you use them for several days in a row. These pens typically contain some type of bleaching gel that includes either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
- Bleaching trays – These products usually contain a generic one-size-fits-all set of trays equipped with a whitening solution that normally includes a peroxide-based bleaching formula. The trays are intended to be worn once a day for 30 to 60 minutes over a two-week period. You will see results from OTC bleaching trays, although the bleaching formula isn’t nearly as strong as that used by dentists – which means the results still won’t compare to a single in-office teeth whitening session at your dentists’ office.
- Whitening strips – One of the most popular categories of over-the-counter teeth bleaching products are whitening strips. These strips, which include some form of peroxide-based whitening agent in addition to a gentle adhesive, are designed to be applied to your upper and lower teeth in the front of the mouth on a daily basis for 30 minutes. If you use them daily for two weeks, you will see some improvement in the shade of your teeth. But, once again, strips can’t compare to professional whitening services.
There’s no doubt about it – if you want whiter teeth, you have a lot of options to choose from! It is important to remember, however, that teeth whitening may not be the right choice for everyone. People with eroded enamel won’t see any results at all from any type of whitening product, for example. And if you have fillings or crowns that are visible when you smile, you should know that whitening agents don’t work on dental restorations. Remember too that teeth whitening is intended for adults and is not recommended for children.
For more information about teeth whitening products, and to determine which is the best choice for your, contact your Cedar Park, Texas dentist today and schedule an appointment.