Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. It is important to be confident about sharing it with the world. When you discover that stained or yellow teeth are causing you to hide your smile, it is time to act. Teeth whitening has become one of the most popularly requested dental treatments today. Knowing the answers to these top questions asked by patients will help you begin brightening your smile today.
What Types of Teeth Whitening Options Are Available?
Advertisements and grocery store shelves are lined with products claiming that they will whiten your teeth. Whitening strips, toothpastes and gel trays are all available over-the-counter. Yet they tend to be less effective than the options offered by dentists. Chairside whitening is the most effective method available. It involves a dental professional carefully polishing the teeth before applying whitening gel. Depending upon the type of gel that is used, a special light may then be included in the treatment to increase the whitening effect.
Will Whitening Hurt My Enamel?
Current research shows that whitening treatments do not harm the enamel of your teeth. However, these studies were done in a professional environment using products containing only 10 percent of a bleaching solution. Choosing to have your teeth whitened professionally rather than using at-home products reduces the chances of causing damage to your teeth and gums.
Does It Cause Sensitivity?
Some patients experience temporary sensitivity after whitening treatments. Other patients never notice a thing. For most people, the sensitivity is gone within 48 hours. If you find that your teeth are sensitive after tooth whitening, you can ease discomfort by using special toothpaste or going longer between treatments.
How Long Does It Take to Get Teeth Really White?
Professional treatments can whiten teeth in less than an hour. However, people with severely stained teeth may need more than one treatment to get their teeth to their brightest shade. Other types of treatments may take several weeks to get your teeth white. The length of time for whitening depends upon many factors. They include your natural tooth color, your lifestyle habits and the type of treatment option that you choose.
Can I Whiten Restorations?
Only natural teeth can be whitened. This means that fillings, crowns and bridges will remain the same when you use one of these treatments. When these are in a visible location, it is important to work with your dentist to determine how a whitening treatment will affect your smile. In some cases, whitening will return the rest of your teeth to a color that matches your restorations. In other cases, you may need to have your restorations replaced at the same time you whiten your teeth.
Will My Teeth Stay White?
You can usually expect your teeth to stay white for anywhere from six months to two years. However, this all depends upon your lifestyle habits. People who drink and eat stain-causing foods such as coffee and red wine may notice their teeth changing colors within as little as three months. Keeping up with your regular dental cleanings helps to keep teeth white for as long as possible.
Whiter teeth are possible with professional treatments that transform a dull and aging smile into one that is beautiful. As with any new type of treatment, remember to consult with a dental professional before trying it at home. Then start proudly flashing those pearly whites and feel confident about your appearance.