Most people find a white smile more attractive than a yellow or brownish one, so if your teeth aren’t quite as white as you’d like them to be, you may be considering one of the many whitening techniques available. From do-it-yourself store-bought kits consisting of gels, strips, or trays to professional bleaching done by your dentist, there are many whitening methods available to suit different budgets and expectations. Which one you choose will depend on the following:
What kind of results do you want?
Home kits consisting of bleach trays, strips or gels can work well on teeth that are lightly stained, especially in younger people since their enamel is stronger. Over-the-counter kits will work gradually. They’re usually meant to be used once or twice a day over a period of anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. If you have more severe stains you may want to consider seeing a dentist. The most dramatic results will come from laser bleaching at a dentist’s office; typically your appointment will last around an hour and your teeth will immediately look whiter. A dentist can also offer home bleaching; he or she will make custom molds of your teeth at their office, and you will use them as bleach trays at home with a bleach solution provided by your dentist. This method will take about two weeks of daily use to show results. This is a good choice for lesser stains or as a supplement to laser bleaching for heavier stains.
Absent-mindedly scrubbing at your teeth once or twice a day with a toothbrush or other dental equipment isn’t enough to maintain your dental health- and a healthy smile is an attractive one. You should brush for a full two minutes, twice a day. Concentrate on what you’re doing and make sure to reach every surface of your teeth. Don’t skip the flossing either; your toothbrush can’t get between teeth to prevent decay and stains from taking hold in the tiny nooks and crannies of your mouth.
On the other end of the spectrum, don’t make the mistake of brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with extremely strong or stiff bristles. Your teeth need a thorough cleaning, but brushing with too much force or too-stiff bristles can damage your enamel just like sugars and acids; you can put tiny scratches in to the surface of your teeth which will make them appear dull and allow stains to set in more easily.
Try a home whitener.
For those with mild to moderate stains or discoloring, at-home whitening kits can be helpful. They come in a wide variety of formulas from gels to strips, and there are kits for almost every budget. Often the most effective whiteners are the types that you use once a day, or a few times a week, or several weeks. Keep in mind that whitening tends to make the teeth temporarily sensitive, so you’ll want to plan your whitening for a day when you’re not about to go out for dinner or ice cream. At-home kits are not always recommended for those who have extremely sensitive teeth, and the results you can expect will vary. Typically, yellowish stains are present on the outer enamel of teeth and can be improved with home bleaching, whereas more gray-colored stains may be set deeper in to the teeth and will not be affected by a topical whitener.
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