You’ve seen the ads. By using either strips soaked in a special solution or by brushing your teeth with a special formula, you can whiten your teeth. Many consumers are opting for these less expensive forms of teeth whitening. Others may choose to have their teeth bleached by a dentist, while still some go for a full veneer set of teeth whitening in true “extreme makeover” fashion. But how do these teeth whitening products work? And do over the counter teeth whitening products really remove more than coffee and tea stains to the enamel? This article will take a look what substances can cause discoloration of the teeth as well as the various methods used to whiten the teeth.
Discoloration of the Teeth: Causes
I’ve already mentioned some of the substances that contribute to staining or dulling of enamel, such as coffee and tea. There are more contributors to this problem. Some other factors that cause staining to the teeth include, tobacco use, caffeinated sodas, injury to the tooth, discoloration related to the antibiotic Tetracycline and aging.
Teeth Whitening Toothpastes
Teeth whitening toothpastes are recommended for minimal stains such as coffee and tea. They are however very beneficial for people who have already undergone a professional teeth whitening or bleaching session and would like to keep their results. These toothpastes consist of a mixture of a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
Teeth Whitening and Home Bleaching Kits
You can purchase home bleaching kits at any drugstore. These consist of a mouth tray and gel solution. You soak your teeth in the solution for at least 10 minutes. Though these have had successful reports, they aren’t fully recommended by the American Dental Association. If you decide to use a home bleaching kit, be sure to follow the instructions carefully, and not to use more than is recommended. Another form of these mouth tray/gel teeth whitening systems is the prescription kind. Yes, your dentist can prescribe an at home teeth whitening system. This is more advantageous than the over the counter brand, because the dentist can follow up with you and make sure that none of your previous dental work is being effected by the kit.
Teeth Whitening and Power Bleaching
The power associated with Power Bleaching refers to the level of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen Peroxide is the active ingredient that causes teeth whitening systems to work. For example, an over the counter teeth whitening toothpaste contains less than one percent Hydrogen Peroxide, while a few newer products do contain up to ten percent Hydrogen Peroxide. Some of the over the counter teeth whitening kits contain between 10 and 16 percent Hydrogen Peroxide, and a Power Bleaching solution contains up to 35 percent Hydrogen Peroxide. This procedure takes place in the dentist’s office and consists of the high concentrated Peroxide solution and the use of bright lights. The results are impressive and last for a few years. If you are interested in Power Bleaching, contact your dentist for recommendations.
Veneers are a very popular method of permanent teeth whitening. Veneers are actually made out of porcelain and are attached to the tooth. It can be an expensive process though, costing as much as $900 per tooth.
Whichever method of teeth whitening you prefer, you should always consult with your dentist before choosing any products and use all products according to their instructions.
Copyright Jared Winston, 2006. All Rights Reserved.