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All About Teeth Whitening

Most of us have, at some point, expressed displeasure in our smiles. We would all like for our teeth to be straighter, more proportionate – and, of course, whiter. Many factors contribute to the discoloration of our teeth, primarily:

  1. Plaque/tartar buildup on the teeth
  2. Aging
  3. Tobacco usage
  4. Drinking coffee
  5. Eating foods with high pigmentation
  6. Damage or trauma to the surfaces of the teeth
  7. Overuse of fluoride

To combat discoloration, many of us turn to whitening or bleaching. Most opt for over-the-counter products designed to bleach the teeth white. These are typically found in the forms of adhesive strips to be worn over the teeth for long periods. This method has advantages: the cost is generally lower than professional whitening, the mess is considerably less, and it is done in the convenience of one’s own home. However, there are definite drawbacks to this method. Their usage is not overseen or regulated by a dental professional, whose input is invaluable in any dental procedure. And of course, in life we get what we pay for, and cookie-cutter whitening strips are no exception: they are not custom-fitted to your specific teeth, so fit and adhesion can present major issues.

Typically, the best course of action in whitening your teeth is bleaching by a dental professional. He or she will assess your specific needs and devise a treatment plan suited to you. They will first measure your mouth and produce bleaching trays custom-fitted to your mouth. This, of course, will ensure full, proper coverage of each surface of each tooth by the bleaching material, as opposed to leaving gaps and spots across your smile that do not receive treatment. (Your dentist might also opt to provide you with in-office whitening, which can be done with great accuracy and success with heat or even a laser.) Furthermore, your dentist will almost certainly use a much more potent and effective bleaching solution than the basic, muted product you would likely purchase over the counter. Also, whitening by a dental professional will take measures to protect your gums and soft tissue from contact with the bleaching solution, which can irritate or even damage those surfaces.