Saturday, June 23, 2012

White Teeth: From At-Home Trays to Cosmetic Dentist Visits

Everyone knows that it is good practice to get your teeth checked regularly by a professional, but more and more people are considering the work of a cosmetic dentist to keep their teeth in optimum condition. Everyone wants their teeth to be clean and healthy, but many desire to keep their teeth looking good as well. One of the most common procedures that a cosmetic dentist performs is teeth whitening. If you're interested in brightening your smile with teeth bleaching, it's important to know what your options are and what each of them can do for you.

Over time, your teeth naturally change in color, but there are also some substances that can stain your teeth. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of yellowed teeth, but some drinks and foods can cause problems too. Coffee and tea are often the worst offenders, but soft drinks, wines, and even some fruits can leave stains that dull your teeth though they do not necessarily do any damage.

Discoloration also comes from tooth decay. Enamel makes out the outermost layer of your teeth and functions to protect the bone while chewing. The layer just underneath enamel is yellow-colored. As the enamel is eaten away by a film left behind by sugary foods, the yellow underneath shows and causes discoloration of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes help to decrease the substances that eat away at enamel, but it won't reverse the effects caused by missing enamel.

There are many whitening options for those concerned with the color of their teeth. Over the counter systems are available. For these methods, you apply plastic sheets with low concentrations of whitening chemicals to your teeth every night for about two weeks. While these products do work, they are much lower in strength than whitening that a cosmetic dentist can provide and often do not last for quite as long as a professional bleaching.

Professional bleaching consists of two basic types. In one case, your cosmetic dentist will make a mold of your mouth from which a tray is created. This tray is filled with a whitening agent and is fit into your mouth snugly, allowing the chemicals to reach all of the nooks and crannies in your teeth. Often these trays can also be used at home but are more effective than over the counter products. The other type of professional bleaching is done in-office. A protective substance is painted over the gums so that a high-power whitening agent can be applied directly to the teeth. This method is much faster than the others and often only requires two or three treatments.

In general, whitening done by a cosmetic dentist is more effective because a professional can determine what the cause of discoloration is and target it specifically. Knowing the specific problem can be incredibly useful in getting good results with little hassle. Any whitening is a simple and painless procedure though, and can cause dazzling results combined with a little more attention to what you eat and drink.

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