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Tooth Whitening Systems

Ask your dentist which whitening system is best.

Have you ever wanted a white, attention-grabbing, perfect "Hollywood" smile? You're not alone. An estimated 10 million Americans will spend a whopping 1.7 billion dollars in tooth whitening products and services this year. Tooth whitening is the most common cosmetic service provided by the dentist. Consumers also have a wide assortment of over-the-counter teeth whitening products to choose from. Tooth whitening can remove years of coffee, wine, soda and other unsightly stains quickly, safely and with minimal discomfort.

The most effective way that teeth are whitened is by the use of two chemical agents, either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals whiten teeth by oxidizing stains on the tooth's surface. When used in the mouth, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the active whitening ingredient.

Dentist-supervised tooth whitening involves the use of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Most dentists use in-office (laser bleaching) or at-home whitening systems to achieve the desired results.

Before tooth whitening, the patient should have their teeth professionally cleaned, all cavities filled and the gums should be healthy. Most in-office systems use 15 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide gels, sometimes coupled with a high-intensity light to whiten the teeth. The procedure involves the dentist gently cleaning the patient's teeth with pumice and then putting a protective barrier on the gums. The hydrogen peroxide paste is then placed on the teeth for several minutes, rinsed off and usually reapplied several times. The procedure can achieve about four to six shades of whitening after only one 40-minute treatment.

At-home systems will often use 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide gels. Some gels that contain more than 10 percent carbamide peroxide will also include sodium fluoride to reduce sensitivity and strengthen teeth. To begin the procedure, the dentist takes impressions (molds) of the mouth, and then has soft, custom mouth trays made. The patient is fitted with the trays, and then is instructed to place a thin ribbon of the gel into the tray and wear for two hours during the day or while sleeping. Most whitening occurs in one to two weeks. In difficult cases, trays may need to be worn for up to six weeks. A combination of in-office and at-home systems can achieve up to 12 to 15 shades of whitening in most patients. At-home systems used alone can obtain similar results, but may take longer. These procedures are considered safe and effective when monitored by a dentist.

The main advantage of dentist-supervised tooth whitening when compared to the do-it-yourself over-the-counter systems is that the dentist can help determine if tooth whitening should be performed and if it will be effective for the patient. Patients with decayed teeth, infected gums, white spots on their teeth and multiple tooth-colored fillings or dental crowns (caps) on the front teeth may not be good candidates for tooth whitening.

The dentist can also help decide what type of tooth whitening is required (in-office, at-home or both) and the concentration of the whitening gels. The dentist can monitor and treat patients who experience sensitivity to the whitening agents and modify the procedure for those who are having difficulty getting optimal results. Finally, the dentist can help the patient explore other cosmetic dental options such as porcelain or resin veneers, tooth-colored fillings, gum lifts and tooth shaping used with or without tooth. With the help of the dentist, the patient's cosmetic dental goals may be more easily attained.

Want a great dentist who can help you with all of your teeth whitening needs? Call us at 1-866-970-0441 today.

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