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Tooth “whitening” is defined as any process that will make teeth appear whiter. There are two ways this is commonly done: bleaching and non-bleaching whitening products. Often the terms “bleaching” and “whitening” are used interchangeably, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states the term “bleaching” can only be used when a product contains bleach. A product is considered simply “whitening” when it removes food or debris from the teeth without bleach.
Bleaching products contain peroxide (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) and these products remove both surface and deep stains on teeth and can cause teeth to become even lighter than their natural shade.
Teeth are not solid structures that can push back substances, they have small pores in them. When you consume food or drinks – be it fizzy drinks or wine or food – they are absorbed in small amounts by this pores as well. They settle in the teeth and over the years they result in the teeth staining. Tooth whitening is a very safe process in the hands of professional and trained dentists. What is done in this process by professional dentists is that they open the pores that have absorbed these stains and remove them. The pores do not stay open, they are closed after the process is completed. They use specials tools and materials for this purpose. After the teeth whitening process, many feel sensitivity in the teeth. Sensitivity refers to the teeth getting affected by consuming hot or cold food. After the process is done, the teeth lose their ability to protect teeth temporarily – when this happens the teeth feels hot or cold temperature more directly than before. But this condition goes back to normal after a few hours.
Custom fit bleaching is one of the most reliable methods that is seen. Trays with whitening products are fitted to the teeth for a period of time. The trays ensure that the gel or whitening substance does not come out from the tray, thus ensuing maximum exposure to the teeth to the whitening substance. These trays are convenient and help to whiten your teeth within a small amount of time. There are products available in the market that are not custom fit. The problem with this is that they can come out lose and also rub against your gums and cause irritation there.
Whitening strips are thin strips of whitening materials, they are easily available in the stores. They are easy to apply. One strip each is placed on the top row of teeth and another is placed on the bottom row of teeth. They are flexible so you need not worry. The results can be seen as soon as in three days’ time. This is most suitable if you have slight to moderate staining and also if you are pressed for time. You can do it at the convenience of your home and when you are free.
Whitening toothpastes are designed to work as whitening agents. Normal toothpaste helps keep your mouth clean and also try to remove some of the stains in the teeth, while a whitening toothpaste helps make the teeth shine brighter by removing most of the stains on the teeth. Though it may not give you immediate results, you may notice how in a period of just a few weeks, your teeth grows whiter.
Development in technology has led to a new branch of treatment in teeth whitening. Laser helps activate the whitening agent that is used in the treatment. The process also happens in a limited period of time, so one need not wait long as in the case of other treatment options. During the procedure, guards are placed over lips and gums to protect them. Not all are suitable candidates for laser treatment. Your dentist will suggest the best type of treatment that is suitable for your specific case.