Everybody loves a bright white smile. Teeth whitening has a long history and has evolved into one of the most popular aesthetic dental treatments available. From “chew sticks” made from twigs dating back to 3000 B.C. to today’s use of various forms of peroxide to safely whiten teeth, the quest for “pearly whites” threads throughout the history of oral health.
The long and the short of it is that teeth whitening works. Virtually everyone who opts for this cosmetic treatment will see moderate to substantial improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smile.
There is a direct correlation between tooth color and age. As a person ages the adult teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth, as the enamel becomes less porous. Over the years enamel is worn down, becoming more transparent and permitting the yellow color of dentin(the tooth’s core material) to show through. Teeth also will darken as a result of wear and tear and stain accumulation.
Teenagers will likely experience immediate, dramatic results from whitening. In the twenties, as the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth whitening may require a little more effort. By the forties, the yellow gives way to brown and more maintenance may be called for.
When selecting a whitener, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance- your assurance that they have met American Dental Association standards of safety and effectiveness. There are a variety of different techniques and products available to whiten your smile, such as chewing gums, toothpastes, whitening strips, whitening pens, whitening gels, power whitening.
At-home whiteners use custom-made overnight trays containing a carbamide peroxide gel, which reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the surface of the enamel and whitens stains deposits. This procedure generally takes between 10 to 14 days. Agents are available for daytime use.
Power or light-accelerated whitening, sometimes colloquially referred to as “laser whitening” ( a common misconception since lasers are an older technology that was used before current technologies were developed) uses light energy to accelerate the process of whitening in a dental office. Zoom, the #1 patient-requested professional teeth whitening brand, is a scientifically advanced teeth whitening procedure applied chairside at your dentist’s office. It’s ideal for anyone looking for immediate results. The actual process takes about 2 hours because there is some prep time involved.
Years of extensive research and clinical studies confirm that teeth whitening under the supervision of a dental professional is safe.
The results achieved with whitestrips will be far less dramatic than either the in-office or the at home whitening. Whitening gum, toothpastes and other products are not very effective in the short term, but may have a cumulative effect, but if you really want your teeth whitened, your best bet is to have them professionally whitened.
The two side effects that occur most often with teeth whitening are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity and mild gum irritation.
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