Teeth whitening is the fastest way to get a whiter, brighter smile as it involves the process of applying bleach solutions to the teeth to lighten discoloration of enamel (the outermost tooth covering) and dentin (the tooth material under the enamel).
What Causes Teeth Staining and Discoloration?
There are many causes. The most common include aging and consumption of staining substances such as tobacco, and foods containing tannins such as red wine, coffee, tea, carrots, oranges, etc. During the formation of teeth, consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics or excessive fluoride may also cause tooth discoloration as well as tooth decay.
What Teeth Whitening Options Are Available?
There are several ways to whiten your teeth, but the two most common are in-office treatment and the do-it-yourself approach, with over the counter products.
In-Office Whitening - this is done in a dental office and performed by your dentist. This is also the preferred whitening method because even though stronger agents are applied, the rest of the mouth, including the gums, is protected from these materials. The best whitening systems feature a buffer in the gel that protects the tooth enamel from damage, are extremely effective, and can transform teeth in a single visit as it can literally lighten your teeth up to 10 shades in an hour.
Over-the-Counter or Home Whitening - these are the commercially available teeth whitening systems that can be purchased without your dentist’s supervision. They include whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, mouth trays with gel, whitening toothpaste, and whitening gum. These products are inexpensive and are safe to use except for those who have oral concerns who might need their dentist’s approval first before using them.