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A guide to Teeth Whitening

Lots of us have discoloured teeth. It is often caused by diet. Too much coffee, too much red wine – smoking is also a significant factor in staining our teeth. Sometimes, a lack of knowledge about oral hygiene can also be a contributory factor. If we want to keep our teeth looking as white as possible, it is important that we follow our dentists advice on how to clean our teeth and look after our gums. The problem is that not all of us are as conscientious about looking after our teeth as we could be.

Of course, there are not many of us who have perfect white teeth to begin with. For all of these reasons, teeth whitening treatments are becoming more and more popular amongst adults. We all want to look our best, feel confident and feel self-assured. Knowing that we can smile, talk and eat without people focusing on our teeth makes a big difference to our self-assurance in social situations.

If you are interested in getting your teeth whitened, you have a number of options. In the first instance, though, you should always speak to your dentist before deciding on a particular treatment. Your dentist will be able to evaluate your teeth and offer a professional opinion on what sort of treatment might be best for you. There are lots of products, brands and treatments on the market so understanding what each option involves is an important first step.

The most common type of tooth whitening treatment available is normally a bleaching service offered by your dental practice. As you would expect with bleaching, it is important that you visit an experienced dentist who will the health of your teeth and gums first. Bleaching is a straightforward treatment. Done wrongly, however, it can damage the teeth, lips and gums.

With professional bleaching treatments, you will usually see a difference in the colour of your teeth over a period of around four weeks. During a number of visits to your dentist, you will be fitted for a gumshield which your dentist will then fill with the appropriate strength whitening agent. In most cases, this agent is a gel that contains hydrogen peroxide.

Most professional bleaching products require the patient to continue the treatment in their own time. So while your dentist apply a stronger whitening agent to your teeth within the practice, you will also be given a slightly milder version to apply yourself at home. This ensures that the whitening process is continuous, although you must stick to the instructions and complete the treatment to get the best results.

As a large part of this treatment is done at home, many people are tempted to try to get results using home whitening kits. Obviously, it saves time if you are not visiting the dentist each week and there are many home whitening kits available from your local chemist and supermarket. However, these home whitening kits are weaker versions of the professional bleaching kits and do not always product the results that people hope for. Home whitening kits, and whitening toothpastes, are best used as products to help keep your teeth white once you have had them professionally whitened.

Time is always precious and most people who want to get their teeth whitened are looking for fast results. This is one of the reasons why laser whitening is increasingly popular. Laser whitening is a new technique that works much faster than professional bleaching treatments. A bleaching agent is painted onto your teeth and then ‘zapped’ with a laser to start the chemical process. You will probably have to have an initial consultation with your dentist, but once you’ve been approved for treatment then it may only take an hour before you see results.

Once your teeth have been whitened, it is also important that you look after them properly to stop them becoming discoloured or stained again. Talk to your dentist or oral hygienist about changes your could make to your diet to protect your teeth. Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do if you want your teeth to stay white.

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