Sound ironic that a consult with your dentist might not only save you time, trouble but also your hard earned money as well? Not if you are planning to whiten your teeth! It is important to consult your dentist before you embark on your whitening treatment because there’s a myriad of teeth whitening options available, each having a different mechanism of action and not to mention, its advantages and disadvantages.

So does opting for the most expensive option guarantee the most satisfactory result? Well, not really! Different types of stains will require different forms of treatment to work their magic. It might just be a simple ‘scale and polish’ that you need to remove surface stains to give your pearly whites that extra shine!

Your dentist will be able to provide you with the relevant information, advice and instructions to help you get the most out of your whitening regime that is best suited to your needs, budget and expectations, while ensuring that the health of your teeth and gums are not being compromised.

 

 WHITENING TOOTHPASTE

 

Ever wondered why that whitening toothpaste your friend has been raving about works wonders for her but not for you? Is it just your luck that you unwittingly bought a defective tube, or is it because you are not consistent enough in using it as directed? Well it might be one of the reasons above but more likely than not, the staining or discoloration on your teeth is not suitable to be removed effectively by whitening toothpastes because of other reasons.

Whitening toothpastes will only work if the stain or discoloration on your teeth is confined to the superficial layers of your teeth. This is because these dentifrices contain a higher content of abrasive ingredients and work their magic by abrading away very thin layers of hardened plaque than adhere to the tooth surface, along with the stains trapped within. Stains commonly found on the outer surface layers include those caused by frequent coffee, tea or wine drinking and habits like smoking or tobacco chewing. Brushing with whitening toothpastes therefore creates a polishing effect rather than an actual change in tooth color. So if whitening toothpastes have failed to work for you, more than likely it is because the stains are embedded in the deeper layers of your teeth, far away from the abrasive action of whitening toothpastes.

The biggest advantage of using whitening toothpastes to achieve your desired smile is that these toothpastes are easily available and very cost friendly as well. Supermarkets and pharmacies often carry a wide selection of such toothpastes and your only dilemma then is deciding which one is your favorite and works best for you! Having said that, over zealous use of such abrasive dentifrices might eventually over time remove the outer protective layers of your teeth, exposing the deeper more sensitive areas, giving rise to teeth sensitivity.

 

HOME WHITENING KITS

 

Home whitening kits are most suitable for individuals who wish to lighten their teeth color gradually and at the convenience as well as comfort of their own home and time. Not only do you get to whiten your teeth while kicking back and enjoying a movie marathon night at home, these kits come at very pocket friendly prices as well!

It is recommended for you to consult your dentist to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and suitable for whitening. Your dentist is likely to record your initial tooth shade and take impressions of your teeth to fabricate a customized bleaching tray to fit your dentition should you decide to proceed. Not only will having a customized tray make it more comfortable for you during the whole bleaching process, it also makes the procedure much safer, ensuring that the gel is evenly distributed and sufficient coverage of the targeted teeth. Having a custom made tray will also prevent direct contact of the gel with the soft tissues of the mouth and reduce gel leakage.

On the second visit to your dentist, you will receive your customized bleaching tray, as well as instructions on how to wear and care for the tray and how to appropriately apply the whitening gel to achieve your desired results. Since these kits consist of bleaching ingredients that can potentially cause harm to your teeth and gums if misused, they have to be prescribed by a dentist.

Home whitening kits work by having the bleaching ingredients in whitening gels to diffuse into the tooth structure and break down the stain particles present. These kits typically contain between 10% to 35% of carbamide peroxide, the active ingredient used to produce the whitening effect. The duration of use can range from 30 minutes to 8 hours (overnight wear) each day, over a period of approximately 2-3 weeks depending on product. Unused bleaching gels can be kept for up to a year if stored in a cool, dry and dark area. These can be used to maintain the whiteness of your teeth by repeating the procedure a few months later.

 

IN-OFFICE WHITENING

 

Having a wedding or major social event just around the corner but dreading the cameras, all because your pearly whites are not cooperating with your other whitening efforts? Fret not, for in-office whitening is your knight in shining armor. Not only have these in-office procedures proven to be highly effective, results are immediate and can be achieved in just a matter of hours! Too good to be true? Well, maybe, if you are already on a tight budget from shelling out for that no expense spared social party.

Aside from the higher costs relative to other whitening treatments, in-office whitening procedures might cause more teeth sensitivity due to the higher concentration of bleaching agent present in these products. Having a dental professional carry out the whitening procedure will often allow for patient concerns to be addressed appropriately and easing of unwarranted fears. Also, if sensitivity is experienced, the dentist will be able to provide relief, providing a more predictable experience. If the sensitivity is too much to bear, the whole procedure can be also be stopped immediately and patient reassured that no damage has been done to their teeth.

In-office whitening works exactly the same way as home whitening kits, with both producing similar end results, but in a much shorter time frame due to substantially higher concentration of bleaching ingredient. Having such a high concentrations of bleaching agent will also mean that it is a regulated product and can only be used and dispensed by a dentist. Your safety is always the priority!

 

IN-OFFICE INTERNAL BLEACHING

 

Ever notice that your root canal treated tooth, which you went through so much trouble to save, is looking a little darker than you’d like it to be? In-office internal bleaching is just the solution for you!

Often, root canal filling materials as well as any blood remaining in your root treated tooth is the cause of its discoloration and darkish appearance. Internal bleaching as its name suggest, literally works by whitening your teeth from inside-out. Bleaching agent is placed inside your tooth and left in place for a few days to work its magic, before being removed and the affected tooth restored. As the bleaching agent is placed internally within the tooth, your dentist has to ensure that your health and safety is not compromised in any way by checking that the existing root canal filling is sufficiently robust. Your dentist may advise you to consider retreatment of the affected tooth if he suspects that the existing root canal filling is starting to leak or insufficient. It is therefore of utmost importance to consult your dental practitioner, not only to ensure your safety and assure you that this is the right procedure, but also to rule out anything more sinister that is causing the discoloration.

The biggest advantage of this procedure is that it can be repeated with your dental practitioner for as long as is required until you are satisfied with the shade. After going through all the hassle to keep that tooth, you’d definitely want it to look good, or acceptable at the very least!