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HomeHealth A-Z Tooth Whitening
Tooth Whitening
Tooth Whitening
With all of the tooth whitening techniques on the market today, celebrities are not the only ones who can enjoy a bright smile.

Tooth Whitening

Definition of Tooth Whitening

Tooth Whitening treatments are any of a number of cosmetic dental procedures and products that use a bleaching system to lighten discolorations and stains on the teeth.

Overview of Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is becoming more and more popular all the time as consumers realize that they don’t have to live with discolored teeth. In fact, many of the people that are enjoying the benefits of tooth whitening don’t have discolored teeth, they just want them to be even brighter. In our society, white teeth are attractive and thought to be the healthiest. We all look at the beautiful people on television and in magazines and they all have these sparkling styles. With all of the techniques that are on the market today, celebrities are not the only ones who can enjoy a bright smile.

Tooth whitening has become a common procedure for general and cosmetic dentists. Dentists offer this procedure because they want their patients to feel good about themselves when they talk and smile, no matter where they are. Many consumers report a boost in self confidence after they undergo a tooth whitening procedure.

Many people start to worry about their smile during childhood. The reason for this is that the set of ‘baby teeth’ that we have when we are children are usually very white, but the adult teeth usually are not quite as white and this concerns people. Tooth whitening can bring back the sparkling white teeth of your childhood, and the processes do not have to be all that difficult.

Purpose of Tooth Whitening

The purpose of tooth whitening is to whiten the teeth. As we age our teeth usually become less and less white because of changes in the mineral structure of the tooth. The changes usually cause a hardening of the enamel on the tooth and many people don’t like the way their teeth look as they age. Yellowing can also be caused by bacterial problems, food, and tobacco and tooth whitening works to combat these issues so you can continue to have a white, bright smile even as you age!

In general, people associate beautiful teeth with youth, so in many instances people are trying to look and feel younger when they undergo a tooth whitening procedure. In some people it is just not a matter of looking younger, it is a boost in self esteem. If you are afraid to smile because you do not like the way your teeth look it can be really liberating to undergo one of these procedures and have more confidence in the way you look.

Regardless of who is having their teeth whitened and why, it’s all about the way we look and feel. Everyone wants to look and feel their best, and because we associate who we are with the way we look our teeth are very important. Tooth whitening can make people feel good and look better than they ever have before.

Methods of Tooth Whitening

There are many different methods of teeth whitening for consumers to choose from. Some of the most common procedures actually bleach the teeth and use products that are primarily hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These oxidizing products are able to seep into the tooth to remove or bleach out stains and bacterial deposits. If you use the product for long enough the teeth will become quite white because even the enamel and dentine layer of the tooth are bleached. This type of tooth whitening can be done at home by using a mouth guard to hold the product on the tooth.

There is a faster way to go about tooth whitening and this can be done in your dentist’s office. In just a short period of time your dentist will use oxidizing agents in high concentration so you leave the office with whiter teeth than you had when you came in. These procedures usually require some care so that the gums and surrounding tissues do not suffer from chemical burns. Many people are going for these quick in-office treatments because they want immediate results and these in-office treatments can do just that.

Benefits of Tooth Whitening

The benefits of having a tooth whitening procedure done are different for everyone, but generally the benefits are tied into the way a person feels about him or herself. When there is something that you don’t like about the way you look it can affect the way you feel about yourself, even if your complaints are not something that other people can see. If you feel self conscious about your teeth it can interfere with the way you interact with other people because you don’t want to talk or smile in front of other people. The main benefit is that in relatively little time and for relatively little money tooth whitening allows for consumers to do something about the way they feel about their smile.

Many times people undergo tooth whitening treatments and they are ready to go out and make new friends and talk to new people. Other people are willing to forge ahead at work because they aren’t worried about getting up in the board room to speak. A white smile is a beautiful smile and it gives people the freedom to be who they really are at all times, making life more fun, and perhaps even more successful.

Risks of Tooth Whitening

Like any treatment, there are some risks associated with tooth whitening. Some of the more common problems that people experience after tooth whitening treatments are sensitivity to heat and cold as well as irritation of the gums around the tooth. If you experience these problems you may want to double check the way that the mouth guard you are using fits in your mouth to be sure that you are getting even coverage of the product on the teeth instead of on the teeth and the gums. Luckily, these conditions usually only last a couple of days and then go away for good.

Cost of Tooth Whitening

The cost of tooth whitening varies dependent upon which products you use and where you live. Generally speaking you can undergo tooth whitening at home for as little as $50 per month. There are cheaper over the counter alternatives, but if you get a product from your dentist it will usually cost you about $50.

If you choose to go for the in office tooth whitening procedures you will probably pay right around $100 a treatment. Many people don’t need more than one treatment, though it can be beneficial to have the in office procedure done every few months to keep that bright smile as white as possible.

External Resources

The American Dental Hygienists' Association

American Dental Association

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