Feel like your smile is looking a little yellow or missing some sparkle? You aren’t alone! When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve about their smile the most common response was whiter teeth. Whiter teeth can help you look healthier, younger, and more self-confident.

Whitening your teeth (also called bleaching your teeth) is a pretty simple process. Whitening products contain a type of bleach that helps break stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter. There are different types of whitening products, each a different fit for budget and time constraints. Talk to your dentist about the best whitening program for your situation.

  • Whitening toothpastes help remove surface stains (not deeper stains) through the action of scrubbing the teeth with a mild abrasive. Unlike bleaches, these types of products only remove stains on the surface and can’t change the actual color of the teeth.
  • In-Office Bleaching means the dentist will apply protection to your gums, and then put bleach directly on the teeth. A special light might be used to enhance the action of the whitening agent. This is a good option if you need a significantly brighter smile tomorrow.
  • At-home bleaching uses a bleaching gel and trays that are made to fit your teeth. The gel is a lower concentration of bleach than used in an in-office bleaching visit, so this may be a good option if you have sensitive teeth. At-home bleaching can also be done with store-bought trays or strips, but the best option is to get custom-fit trays from your dental office.

Teeth bleaching may not work on teeth that have fillings, crowns, veneers, or other problems. It is always important to talk to your dentist before beginning any bleaching treatments to avoid making discolored spots look worse in comparison.

Although there are rarely side effects of bleaching your teeth, some people do find they feel sensitivity when they whiten their teeth. This happens when the peroxide in the whitener gets through the enamel of the tooth to irritate the nerve of the tooth. This sensitivity is almost always temporary. Talk to your dentist if you feel you need a lower concentration to avoid this problem. Overuse of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow directions and talk to your dentist.

Teeth whitening, or bleaching your teeth, is a simple process that can make a huge difference for your smile. Call our office today to start your path to a whiter, brighter smile!

Source: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/whitening