A smile is one of the first things that people notice when they meet someone new. The process of whitening and brightening teeth can help achieve a more confident, beautiful smile. Here, we’ll take a look at some methods of whitening from a holistic dental approach.
Teeth whitening is the most economical cosmetic procedure that can be done to the teeth. It can also have dramatic and quick results. Advancements in cosmetic dentistry over the last several years have made the process of whitening teeth safe and affordable for almost anyone wanting whiter teeth.
There are a variety of whitening options that will help self-confidence improve. Whether working, on a date, at a party or attending school, a smile with bright, sparkly teeth is sure to impress. Having whiter teeth also enhances appearances and signals to others that you care about your appearance. Whiter teeth also minimize the look of wrinkles. For the older crowd, it is nice to draw attention away from the more unsightly facial features, such as wrinkles, acne scars, and frown lines by focusing on a beautiful bright smile.
Causes of Stained Teeth
Teeth can be stained, or dark due to a variety of reasons. Coffee, tea, colas, and wines all can play a part in staining teeth. Tobacco use over many years can also cause the darkening of teeth. Poor oral hygiene, such as a lack of brushing, flossing, and rinsing is another source of trouble.
Unfortunately, as people age, so do their teeth, causing the enamel to wear away and exposing the natural color dentin. Genetics also plays a role in the color of teeth. Some people naturally have brighter or thicker enamel than others.
Holistic dentistry provides a variety of options for whitening teeth. It is important to consider the extent to which teeth are discolored, the price that each procedure will cost, and the time that it will take to produce results. People with healthy gums and teeth are the best candidates for using whitening products, as they usually don’t have sensitive teeth. Not all discolored teeth respond positively to whitening. For example, bleaching does not work on teeth that have fillings, crowns, or other restorations.
Professional, in-office whitening, is typically safer and more effective than home products. It will protect gums and tooth-root surfaces as well. It is always important to have a thorough dental exam before trying any whitening methods, to make sure that there is no underlying dental condition that requires restorative services. During this in-office process, the gums and tooth-root surfaces are covered by a barrier for comfort and safety. A dentist will apply a hydrogen peroxide gel and allow it to soak on the teeth for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the staining. The strength of these gels currently is 10%, 16%, or 22%. Often after the gel is removed, an immediate difference is noticed.
The second method of whitening is take-home whitening. This method involves purchasing trays or molds filled with custom bleaching gel. They are inserted over the teeth and are also left in for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the strength of the gel.
For patients that are concerned with using harsh chemicals in their mouths, there are more natural methods as well. Some people are concerned with swallowing some of the hydrogen peroxide gel or carbamide peroxide. Natural whitening does not use traditional chemicals, but rather herbal whitening ingredients. Some of these ingredients can include olive oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil. These are given both in the office and at home, depending on the patient’s wishes. Using natural products is also less likely to irritate teeth and gums for people with more sensitive teeth.
Other options include teeth whitening toothpaste, over-the-counter whitening gels and strips, and whitening rinses. These do not usually have immediate results, but over time can lighten and brighten teeth as well. Teeth whitening toothpaste usually contains the same ingredients as regular toothpaste but in a finer form. They typically can brighten teeth about one shade. Whitening strips are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel and are applied similarly to a tray gel. They are usually used twice a day for thirty minutes, for two weeks straight. These results are similar to using tray gel applications.
Nathaniel Leedy, DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Dentistry in Cary, North Carolina provides comprehensive dental care designed to help preserve natural teeth for as long as possible. We provide preventative dental care, restorative and cosmetic dentistry, surgical dentistry, and emergency dental services.