Whitening the teeth is one of the easiest and most noticeable changes that you can make to improve the appearance of your smile. Whitening, or bleaching, is a non-invasive and simple dental treatment that will alter the color of your tooth enamel to make your smile look whiter and brighter.
For many people, dull or stained teeth are the primary concerns that they have about their smile. At-home teeth whitening systems are the most popular method for correcting this problem. However, if you have older fillings, crowns, and other restorations, you need to be aware that these whitening systems will only work to improve the appearance of the natural tooth enamel, so you won't notice any changes on these restorations. It is recommended that you have these restorations replaced after bleaching your teeth so that they match the new and improved color of the rest of your smile.
Reasons to Whiten Your Teeth
There are numerous reasons why you might choose to whiten your teeth:
Brown or yellow stains due to smoking or your diet
Discoloration due to fluorosis (too much fluoride during the development of the teeth)
Stains due to certain medications
Normal wear of the enamel
The Teeth Whitening Process
If you choose to whiten your teeth with a home whitening system, you will generally need two dental appointments. At your first visit, your dentist will take molds of your teeth to create customized plastic trays to hold the whitening solution.
After your trays have been fabricated, you'll be set up for a second appointment in which you'll ensure they fit properly. You'll receive instructions on how to wear the trays for optimal results. In most cases, this will involve wearing them either overnight or twice per day for several weeks.
Caring for Your Whitened Teeth
When whitening your teeth, it is completely normal to experience sensitivity. Fortunately, this discomfort should stop once you have finished with your bleaching treatment, but if it doesn't, sensitivity toothpaste can help with the symptoms.
It is important to remember that teeth whitening isn't a permanent procedure, so to get the most out of your results, you should be sure to avoid foods and beverages that could stain your smile, including wine, tea, soda, and coffee. If you are a smoker, you should also consider giving up the habit. Additionally, you will likely need an annual touch-up in order to maintain your beautiful, white smile.