Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental service that OKC Smiles provides in-office or through a take-home kit. Results vary, but most patients observe significant lightening that lasts up to a year. Our teeth whitening patients affirm that a whiter smile boosts self-confidence and can take years of wear and discoloration away to reveal a brighter smile.
Teeth whitening and teeth bleaching, however, describe two different things. Surface cracks and stains develop on tooth enamel, exposing the yellower dentin below the surface. Discoloration can be the result of the natural aging process, illness, genetics, or dark-colored food or drink. Foods and beverages that are both dark-colored and acidic— like wine, coffee, and tomato sauce—have even stronger staining power.
Teeth whitener can refer to any product used to remove stains from tooth enamel: toothpaste, DIY strips, and some mouthwashes are safe and cost-effective and can beautify teeth with continued, regular use. The extent of whitening varies, and it takes dedicated, consistent use to see results.
Whitening products that do not contain bleach can usually make teeth two to four shades lighter. These are a good choice for men and women with sensitive teeth and gums that can react to products containing harsher whitening chemicals. OKC Smiles counsels pregnant or nursing mothers to select non-bleach whitening products.
The term “bleaching” is used to mean a tooth whitening product that contains a form of bleach, either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, in varying concentrations. For best results, teeth bleaching should be carried out in-office by your dentist. Bleaching can ordinarily achieve more noticeable results, sometimes up to seven shades lighter. Intrinsic stains on the dentin, as well as surface stains, can be efficiently lightened under an experienced dentist’s supervision.
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The following online articles were used as source material for this post:
Linda Dyett, ‘Teeth Whitening: How it Works and What it Costs,’ Consumer Guide to Dentistry, September 12, 2011, http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/teeth-whitening/.htm, accessed on February 6, 2012
‘How to Whiten Teeth,’ What’s Cooking America, http://whatscookingamerica.net/HealthBeauty/TeethWhitening.htm, accessed on February 6, 2012
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