In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, researchers found that the number one response for what people would like to improve most about their smile was whiter teeth. Gradually, our teeth may become stained or start to lose brightness for several different reasons. What we eat, drink and tobacco use are the most common causes. The pigments in these substances cling to the outer layer of our teeth, the enamel, causing that layer to turn yellow. Aging and trauma are also known to affect the whiteness of our smile. Over time the enamel thins and reveals the second darker layer of the tooth, the dentin, causing our teeth to look darker. Whatever the reason may be, there are a few options for you to consider when looking to restore that beautiful brightness.

Teeth whitening can be broken down into “whitening” and “bleaching”. Whitening is the process of restoring the natural color of our teeth by removing stains from the tooth surface. Teeth whitening products can be purchased at most drug stores in the form of tooth paste, mouth wash or whitening strips, and can be used at home. The concentration of stain removal agent found in these products is lower compared to other bleaching options. They also typically cost less. If you choose to opt for over-the counter whitening, always look for an ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Bleaching is the whitening process of using active ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to breakdown stains into smaller pieces making the color less concentrated. Bleaching can either be done in office or at-home. In-office bleaching, also known as chair-side bleaching, can be done in one office visit. The Dentist or Hygienist will apply a shield to your gums to protect them. The bleaching agent is then applied to your teeth and solidified with a light. This type of bleaching usually has the quickest results. At-home bleaching also requires an office visit to create a tray that is customized to your mouth. The Hygienist will then give you instructions on how to place the bleaching solution into the tray and the duration of time needed to keep the tray in. This bleaching option can take a few days or weeks to see results.

Teeth whitening is a great (most sought after) option to improve your smile and build your self-confidence. Always be sure to also maintain your regular dental checkups and cleanings. Contact SJ Family Dental to learn more about the options available for your smile!

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