A cup of coffee or hot tea in the morning and a good glass of red wine in the evening offer just a few of the pleasures that make life worth living. While these types of beverages may help to stimulate or soothe depending on your mood, they can also do a number on the color of your teeth.
A lifetime of consuming teeth staining foods and drinks can rob even the healthiest of smiles of a little luster. Fortunately, a number of teeth whitening systems and products offer patients a way to brighten their smiles and reverse the effects of tooth staining.
Teeth whitening treatments should only be attempted by patients with healthy smiles, and you should consult with Dr. Bajuscak before undergoing any teeth whitening regimen. For patients with healthy enough smiles, there are a number of ways to whiten.
All types of toothpaste help to remove stains from the surface of teeth, because they contain mild abrasives used for scrubbing. Some brands of whitening toothpaste contain a gentle chemical or polishing agent that offer additional stain removing power. Whitening toothpastes only help to remove stains from the surface of your teeth and don’t contain a bleaching agent; unlike over-the-counter and professional whitening systems that contain hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, agents that lighten the deeper color of tooth complexion. At most, whitening toothpaste will only improve the color of your teeth by one shade. Conversely, the professional whitening systems used by Portland dentist Dr. Bajuscak can make teeth three to eight shades lighter.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Gels and Strips
A clear, peroxide-based gel, whitening gels are applied to the surface of your teeth with small brushes. Instructions on how to apply the products may vary depending on the strength of the peroxide. Make sure to read and follow the directions carefully on any over-the-counter whitening product, as misusing the product could damage your oral health. The results of using this type of product should become noticeable within a few days and should last for several months.
Whitening strips are very thin, nearly invisible strips that are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. Most strips need to be applied twice a day for about 30 minutes for two weeks. Like gels, the results of whitening strips can be seen within a few days and should also last for several months.
One of the newest products to hit the shelves, whitening rinses help to reduce oral plaque and bad breath while also improving tooth color. Unlike traditional mouthwashes, whitening rinses contain ingredients like hydrogen peroxide that help improve the shade of teeth after continued use. Because rinses contain significantly less whitening agents when compared to gels and strips, it can take up to 12 weeks for results to become noticeable. Some oral health experts question whether whitening rinses have much of an effect, since they stay in contact with the surface of teeth for such brief periods of time. Most rinses require users to swish twice daily for about 30 seconds.
Tray-Based Whitening Systems
Tray-based systems, whether provided by a dentist or purchased over-the-counter, require filling a tray similar in appearance to a mouth guard with a tooth whitening solution that contains a peroxide bleaching agent. The tray is worn for several hours throughout the day or during the night while sleeping for up to four weeks or longer depending on the desired whiteness of the patient.