A quick search on the Internet will reveal lots of different ways to whiten your teeth, but clinical researchers have discovered a brand-new and very safe way to lighten the color of your pearly whites. Currently, the most common way to brighten teeth is to use a bleach-based treatment because hydrogen peroxide works extremely well. However, when hydrogen peroxide is overused, then it can damage tooth enamel or at the very least will cause tooth sensitivity.
To overcome these problems a team of researchers modified titanium dioxide nanoparticles. The modified nanoparticles were applied to the surface of a tooth and irradiated with blue light. Researchers discovered that after four hours, the results obtained were like the results achieved when using hydrogen-peroxide-based whitening products. Additionally, the modified particles showed antibacterial activity against specific bacteria.
It all sounds very promising but at the moment researchers only at a proof of concept stage, so it could be quite a while before this treatment is available to the general public. In the meantime, you should find your dentist has lots of very safe and effective ways of helping to brighten your smile. While it is true that over-the-counter whitening products can damage your teeth is overused or not used correctly, a professional tooth whitening treatment is very safe and is specifically designed not to hurt your teeth. In fact, many tooth whitening agents used in dental offices contain special ingredients like fluoride to help strengthen your tooth enamel, as well as other additives to reduce any unwanted tooth sensitivity. But, every treatment needs to begin with a dental check-up.
The Importance of Seeing a Dentist before Whitening
Even if you intend to whiten with an over-the-counter product, it’s still crucial to see your dentist beforehand. It is especially important to get a dental check-up if you haven’t seen the dentist for a while and know you could have dental problems. Any problems like tooth decay or gum disease must be treated before you can whiten safely and comfortably. Otherwise, you run the risk of a great deal of discomfort or even pain, and using these whitening products could damage your teeth and gums even further.
Another thing to consider is the potential effectiveness of your whitening treatment. Although you may want a bright white smile, it might not be possible because everybody whitens slightly differently. For example, people with yellowish teeth will tend to whiten more easily than people with gray shades of teeth. Some teeth may not whiten at all because the stains are internal. It might be a problem if you have a tooth that is darkened because of old root canal treatment, which has become stained because of tetracycline use, or if your teeth were exposed to too much fluoride as a child. If this is the case, then don’t worry because there are other solutions to help brighten your smile. Your dentist may suggest internally whitening the tooth or covering it up completely.
Something else that can affect the efficacy of whitening treatments is whether you have any dental crowns, bridges or veneers, or any white fillings. You should be aware that these will not change color during your treatment and it could be that you will need to replace these restorations once the rest of your natural teeth have been bleached.
Bleaching first, then replacing your restorations is the correct way round, as before you bleach your teeth it will be impossible to predict the exact shade after teeth whitening confidently. By whitening first, your beautiful new crowns, bridges or veneers can be accurately matched to your whiter and brighter teeth giving you a far better and more predictable treatment outcome.
Deciding How to Whiten
Once your dentist has given you to go ahead for treatment, then you will need to choose how you wish to whiten your teeth. Of course, you can use an over-the-counter whitening treatment but be aware that this product will not be as effective as a treatment provided by your dentist. Dental professionals can safely use higher strength whitening gels and other whitening products that aren’t available over-the-counter. They will also ensure these products are correctly applied to the teeth to give a safe and effective outcome. Most dentists offer to whiten your teeth in-office or can provide you with a custom-made home whitening kit.
What Happens When You Choose to Whiten in-Office?
If you choose an in-office whitening treatment, then your teeth will look visibly brighter in just an hour or so. Often teeth are lifted by several shades so it’s a very appealing treatment if you’d like to whiten quickly. During treatment, your dentist will make sure your lips and gums are protected before painting your teeth with professional strength whitening gel.
Most often, the gel is activated with a special blue light because this helps it to penetrate your tooth enamel more easily, lifting deep-seated stains more effectively. The whitening gel may be wiped off and reapplied several times during your appointment. Some people choose this as a stand-alone treatment while others may combine it with a home whitening kit.
What Happens When You Choose to Have a Home Whitening Kit?
When you choose a home whitening kit, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to fabricate whitening trays. These are thin plastic trays made to fit tightly yet comfortably over your teeth. They won’t fit anybody else’s mouth but yours! You will be shown how to insert and remove them, and how to fill them up with whitening gel. Your dentist will prescribe an appropriate strength whitening gel depending on your dental needs.
People often choose to whiten at home because it’s a gentler way to bleach your teeth. It might be in an excellent choice if you have especially sensitive teeth. Once the trays are filled, all you need do is wear them for a few hours each day or if you prefer you can wear them overnight. It generally takes two weeks to get the full results. One nice thing about having a home whitening kit is that you can always reuse the trays later, provided you don’t need any dental work that will change the shape or size or the position of your teeth.
The choice of treatment is yours, but both work equally as well and should provide you with a beautifully white smile that is also very healthy.