Most of us are born with bright white teeth, but over time out teeth naturally become stained and, along with the natural effects of aging, our teeth begin to yellow. The degree of yellowing depends on many factors including exposure to tobacco and dark beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
If you want to regain that blinding white smile, you have several options to choose from. Each of these options will work to some degree, but the results will vary depending on the extent of the discoloration and other factors including age.
Teeth whitening, also called teeth bleaching, is generally more effective for younger people because the stains on their teeth is not as deeply embedded as it is for older people. However, with some persistence, even the most heavily stained teeth can be significantly brightened with modern teeth whitening techniques.
Over the counter teeth whitening products usually use a low concentration bleaching agent applied to the teeth using strips or a gel in a one-size-fits-all tray. These products can be effective for mild discoloration, especially for younger people. However, the whitening effect can be uneven.
Professionally dispensed teeth whitening kits available from your dentist use a stronger bleaching agent in a gel with a custom made application tray. Most patients using professionally dispensed whitening kits see good results if they consistently use the product as instructed.
In-office whitening treatments use high concentration bleaching agents applied by the dentist or a trained technician. This method produces the quickest results, but it is also the most expensive.
No matter which technique you choose, you will need follow up whitening maintenance to keep that bright smile. Also, if you have any colored tooth restorations, they will be unaffected by the brightening treatment and will need to be replaced after your teeth have been whitened.
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