If you have stained or discoloured teeth, it can really have a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence. You may find yourself hiding your teeth from others by avoiding smiling or speaking when in public. However, all is not lost. Your dentist may be able to recommend a cosmetic dental treatment such as tooth whitening to help to brighten your smile. Below is a simple guide to both home and dental office tooth whitening treatments.
Dental Office Treatment
Before performing the tooth whitening treatment, your dentist will assess your oral health and check for any other dental problems which may impact the success of the procedure. For example, if you are suffering from cavities or gum disease, the treatment may cause these areas to become sensitive or painful. Your dentist will then photograph your teeth. This will allow the dentist to monitor the changing shade of your teeth as the treatment progresses. Finally, your dentist will then prepare you mouth by cleaning away any plaque or food particles which are on the surface of your teeth.
Types of Treatment
There are two main types of tooth whitening treatments your dentist may use. The most common is a gel which contains carbide or hydrogen peroxide. Your dentist will make a mold of your teeth, which will be used to apply the whitening gel. The gel bleaches your teeth and removes any staining or discolouration. Depending on how stained your teeth are, the treatment might involve multiple visits to your dentist over a number of weeks. You may also be given gel to apply yourself at home between appointments with your dentist.
Laser whitening is performed in much the same way as bleaching, the difference being that after the whitening gel has been applied, a laser is shone onto the teeth. This laser speeds up the chemical action of the whitening gel. This means that your teeth will whiten at a greater speed.
If your teeth are only lightly stained, your dentist may provide you with a home whitening treatment kit. This contains whitening gel and mouth pieces which fit over your teeth. Your dentist will provide full instruction on how to use the kit, but generally it is simply a case of applying the gel to the mouth piece and inserting it into the mouth so it covers the teeth. You should then leave them in place for the recommended time before removing them and rinsing your mouth. You should never leave them in for longer than recommended, as this can cause damage to your teeth and gums.
If you aren't happy with the colour of your teeth and are considering tooth whitening, you should contact a dental professional.
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