Teeth Whitening is one of the easiest ways to improve the overall look of your smile. Once the preserve of movie stars, it is now both affordable and readily available, and there are quite a few options to choose from.
Modern teeth whitening methods are so effective, that almost anyone can get their teeth whitened to a significant degree of brightness, and many treatments can be completed in one visit to the dentist.
What is Tooth Whitening?
Tooth Whitening is the process used to improve the brightness of the teeth, which is achieved by removing as much staining as possible. The techniques used range from natural home remedies to chemical and laser teeth whitening methods performed by cosmetic dentists.
The constant build up of organic pigments on the teeth can cause them to discolour over a period of time. These protein pigments derive from the different kinds of food, drink, tobacco and even antibiotics people consume over the years, and cause the natural whiteness of their teeth to be gradually diminished.
The yellowing of the teeth is also a part of the ageing process, and is determined to some extent by genetic and dietary factors. Some people just have naturally brighter enamel than others.
What different types exist?
There are quite a few options available to choose from. Most artificial methods rely on some form of peroxide to remove stains and bleach your teeth white.
When peroxide compounds are used, oxygen is released and bleaches the pigmented substances present in the enamel the teeth. This method restores the natural colour of the teeth without corroding the surface enamel.
Teeth whitening procedures can be performed at a dentist's office, or in the comfort of your own home. Here are some of the popular techniques.
Whitening Toothpastes Whitening toothpastes contain certain mildly abrasive components which help scrub away the surface stains, and leave teeth looking cleaner and whiter. They don't however have a bleaching action. Whitening toothpastes are generally not as effective as other methods of teeth whitening.
Whitening Strips Teeth whitening strips come in the form of a sticky tape that may be directly applied across the front the teeth. They contain a bleaching solution that incorporates a peroxide compound, and are usually used twice a day for about half an hour each time. Teeth whitening strips may be bought over-the-counter as well as from your dentist.
Whitening Gels Teeth whitening gels are also peroxide based, and they are applied over the teeth with a small brush. Self application gel kits are available that can be used at home. The kit usually comes with a peroxide gel-filled mouth tray that is fitted to your teeth. They are simple to use, reasonably affordable, and effective.
Whitening procedures at the Dentist's Office
A cosmetic dentist can perform this procedure, which involves the direct application of a gel to the teeth under controlled heating, or with the help of a special light or laser, or even a combination of the three.
The procedure will typically last 30 to 60 minutes, and sometimes requires more than one sitting to be properly effective. This procedure will give you quick results, and will be correspondingly more expensive when compared with the home whitening kit.
Gel Treatment under Dental Supervision
This is one of the more popular methods of teeth whitening, and can be slightly more affordable when compared to the procedure performed by a cosmetic dentist.
A custom-made tooth tray containing carbamide peroxide gel is be provided. This is considered to be more effective than treatment using hydrogen peroxide, and reaches virtually every contour of teeth, rendering them as white as possible.
The method of usage is similar to that of a teeth whitening gel kit, and the tray supplied can be reused later as and when required.
How safe are Tooth whitening methods?
A vast body of research has been done on the efficacy and safety aspects of the teeth whitening methods that are in use today, and they have been reported to be quite safe. Modern techniques rarely give rise to sensitive gums or other side effects, and qualified dentists are quite emphatic that tooth whitening is one of the safest cosmetic dental procedures available.
The effects of tooth whitening typically last for one to two years, and sometimes longer depending on your dental hygiene and dietary habits
How much does teeth whitening cost?
The costs can vary depending upon location and the type of whitening treatment selected.
Teeth whitening toothpastes are priced at £4.50 to £14.50 for a tube of 4.2oz. They contain a protein pellicle to which plaque, stains and bacteria adhere and get eliminated while rinsing.
A tooth whitening gel kit is usually priced at around £100.
Teeth whitening and teeth bleaching procedures cost around about £250 on average.
When having the whitening treatment performed by a cosmetic dentist, the cost depends upon the number of sittings required to get the teeth whitened to a significant degree. Most often, dental insurance will not cover the cost of a teeth whitening procedure.