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How To Whiten Teeth

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One of the things patients wonder about the most in cosmetic services today is how to whiten teeth. According to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, almost all adults believe an attractive smile is an important social asset and important in the workforce, but people have a lot of questions on what methods are available to them.

Fortunately, teeth whitening is one of the easiest and most economical ways to improve your smile, and most methods are also easily acquired. But before you begin, it is important to determine what you want to achieve with whitening. After a consultation with your dentist, you can then put a plan of action together on what's best for whitening your teeth.

There are three basic methods you can use to whiten your teeth:

In-Office Whitening

This process involves making an appointment with your dentist to have a special concentrated gel applied to your teeth. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes for the gel to work, but your appointment time in the chair can last up to an hour. Because the gel may cause tooth sensitivity, the dentist may instruct you to brush your teeth with a desensitizing toothpaste for some time after the appointment. The in-office whitening method may take several appointments, and the dentist may give you custom mouth trays with a weaker gel material to continue the process at home.

At-Home Whitening

This method is similar to in-office whitening, but you do the whitening at home with a milder whitening gel. You'll wear a set of custom trays at home for about a maximum of an hour per session, and stop when your teeth reach your desired shade. Eventually, though, your teeth will no longer whiten, and like the in-office method, at-home whitening may require you to use a desensitizing toothpaste for a certain amount of time.

Another at-home whitening method is over-the-counter strips, which are directly applied to the teeth for about an hour a day. The results vary, just like tray applications. This method is most effective when the teeth are completely straight, as the plastic whitening strips must be able to touch the complete surface of each tooth. Quite often, however, the use of whitening strips is more expensive than specially designed whitening toothpastes.

Whitening Toothpastes

For a lot of patients, whitening toothpastes are good options for whitening teeth. By using a whitening toothpaste, not only are you taking advantage of the special whitening ingredients, but you're also keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Follow the product's instructions on how to whiten your teeth, and you can be on the road to a whiter, healthier smile in as little as one week. If you're considering using a whitening toothpaste, the Mayo Clinic suggests that you look for a seal of approval from a reputable dental organization - such as the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This seal indicates that the toothpaste is safe and effective at removing surface stains. 

The use of any of these three methods for how to whiten teeth will provide you with a healthy-looking smile. Consulting with your dentist or dental hygienist before you begin is the best way for you to guarantee a good result.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.