If you aren’t a big fan of the way that your teeth currently look in the mirror, it isn’t too difficult to whiten your teeth. Bleaching is the most effective method of whitening teeth, and the side effects are either minimal or nonexistent. According to the American Dental Association, the solutions used in tooth whitening products (whether at the dentist or in the home), are both safe and effective.
Even so, it is important to understand that there are some important advantages of having your teeth bleached by a professional rather than by using an over the counter solution. If you are looking for the best possible results, seeing a professional is an absolute must.
One of the most important things about professional bleaching is the fact that your dentist can use higher concentrations of carbamide peroxide, which is the most common solution used to bleach teeth. You can’t get the same level of treatment at home. It is also helpful to realize that an expert is heavily involved in the process. Typically, it only takes one visit, possibly two, for the whitening to take effect in a dentist’s office.
Since the over the counter solutions use a weaker concentration, it takes weeks to reach the same end result. If you do choose to use an over the counter product, make sure that you verify it carries the seal of approval of the American Dental Association.
Despite all of this, it is important to realize that defining tooth whitening as proactive dental health may be somewhat misleading. On the one hand, it is certainly better than some of the alternatives. Other options for improving the appearance of tooth involve veneers and crowns. These options require most of the enamel of the tooth to be removed, a process that can never be removed. In that sense, bleaching your teeth is certainly a better choice from a dental health standpoint.
Whitened teeth may also encourage people to take better care of their smile. Bleaching is not a permanent solution, and the whiteness of the teeth eventually fades away within a year. By avoiding foods and behaviors that cause staining though, you may be able to make the whiteness remain awhile longer. Foods that stain, often tend to be bad for the overall health of your teeth as well, so it can be argued that teeth whitening may encourage better dental health by proxy.
While the whitening solution is considered to be safe by the American Dental Association, the possible side effects, though mild, should not be taken lightly. Tooth whitener has been known to cause teeth to feel more sensitive than before the solution was used. It has also been known to lead to irritation of oral tissue and gums. In most cases, these side effects are temporary. There are a few rare cases in which they are not.
If the whitening process takes place at home, the sensitivity is usually strongest when the whitening first begins. At the dentist, they may use a shield of some kind to protect the gums from irritation, although this is not strictly necessary.Pearly Whites: Making a Good First Impression