Albuquerque, NM Dentist Shares Teeth Whitening Methods
It’s no secret that everyone wants whiter teeth. A large portion of the dentifrice industry—things like toothpastes and mouthwashes—are squarely focused on tooth whitening. There are other solutions, such as products like Crest Whitestrips which have become well-known over the last two decades. Finally, there are a variety of options available from your dentist for improving the brightness of your smile. With all these options, it can be difficult to know which method is best.
What is the Best Way to Whiten My Teeth?
The short answer to this question is that treatments from your Albuqueque, NM dentist are the safest and most effective. But this does not necessarily mean that they are the right whitening treatment for everyone.
The yellowing of teeth happens for different reasons. Enamel, the outer surface of a tooth, is naturally white and disguises the more yellow, inner layer of tooth known as dentin. The color of teeth is influenced by enamel thickness (which can have a genetic component and can be altered by poor oral hygiene habits) and everyday habits such as drinking coffee or tea or using tobacco.
If you brush properly and visit your dentist routinely, enamel stains should be relatively easy to keep at bay. However, be wary of toothpastes that advertise as having a whitening component which, by nature, are abrasive to the tooth surface and can actually wear down enamel over time. Obviously this can have the reverse effect on teeth by accelerating the yellowing process.
The most direct and effective way to change the color of your teeth is to alter the shade of the dentin. In order to do this, special chemicals are needed that penetrate the enamel and saturate the dentin. Products like Whitestrips that adhere to your teeth may do the job, but your dentist can offer a personalized solution that is much more effective.
In order for whitening chemicals to be most effective, they must be in contact with teeth for at least 20 minutes. This can be problematic, though, because many whitening chemicals can damage the delicate gum tissue in the mouth.
For this reason, many dentists make custom whitening trays for patients. These trays are similar to mouth guards and are used by placing whitening gel in the tray itself followed by 20 minutes or more of wear. The trays accomplish the important task of holding the whitening material close to all surfaces of your teeth while keeping the gel from affecting tissue.
It is important to keep in mind that most whitening methods usually cause tooth sensitivity due to the penetration or erosion of enamel that takes place. This sensitivity is generally short-lived and teeth should return to normal once a whitening regimen is complete.