It is normal for teeth to yellow or become stained over time, but teeth whitening can return a smile to its original brightness. The American Association of Orthodontics reports that more than 30% of Americans are unhappy with their smile. Getting teeth whitened is a simple, easy process that can help anyone regain confidence in smiling.
As with any dental procedure, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of teeth whitening before committing to it. Knowing how long whitening takes, what is involved in the process and when to return for a second appointment can help a patient make the right decision for their teeth. Here is what one might expect when looking to whiten teeth and options for proper whitening.
The time it takes to restore a smile depends heavily on the condition of the teeth and the chosen process for whitening. A tooth with stains may take longer to whiten than a tooth that has only yellowed with age. Teeth that are considerably discolored will likely require more work than teeth that have minor streaks. On top of that, some at-home procedures take more time than a procedure completed in a dental professional’s office. Even then, treatment may require multiple appointments over the course of several weeks.
No matter which teeth whitening treatment a patient chooses, each uses the same technology to make teeth sparkle. All bleaching agents contain a certain amount of peroxide. How quickly the teeth whiten is relative to the amount of peroxide in the bleach. An agent with a higher percentage of peroxide will whiten teeth at a fast pace, but it can only be kept in the mouth for a short time; otherwise, there is a risk of creating dehydrated, sensitive teeth. A dentist can advise a patient on the proper timeline for each treatment.
There is a wide range of options for teeth whitening. A patient can choose one based on budget, effectiveness, longevity of results, or number of applications. These are the most common forms of whitening.
A patient can make an appointment to get teeth whitened by a dental professional. This kind of treatment is usually incredibly quick and can be completed in a single appointment. While longer-lasting results may require follow-up appointments, this is a great option for those who need immediate whitening, e.g., for a special upcoming event.
Strips are an at-home form of treatment that anyone can do. Generally, the strips are applied to teeth for an hour every day. This process may be repeated for several weeks to obtain desirable results.
Using a tray filled with a bleaching gel provides flexibility in choosing a whitening agent. Each person can pick the strength of the agent and wear the tray for the allotted amount of time for that agent. To whiten teeth faster, the tray can be worn for a maximum time.
There is no reason to feel self-conscious about teeth. Plenty of options exist to keep teeth white and clean for a smile worth showing off.
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