Most people want a bright, white smile. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why teeth can become discolored. Food and drink, mouth injuries, the use of certain medications, and even simply aging are all reasons why teeth can become yellow or lose their whiteness. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses can help to improve tooth brightness, but the most effective method for whitening teeth is an in-office treatment at the dentist’s office.
In-office whitening treatments take about one hour. Before the procedure, it’s recommended that you receive a teeth cleaning for best results. The mouth will be prepped by covering the lips and gums to isolate the teeth. The whitening gel, which is a hydrogen peroxide solution that comes in a higher concentration than over-the-counter options, will be applied to the teeth and left for a short period of time. A special light will be shined on the teeth to penetrate the surface and break up stains and discoloration. The process of applying gel and light will be repeated twice more before the end of the treatment. Once complete, a fluoride paste-gel will be applied to the teeth to reduce sensitivity.
To make the effects of a whitening treatment last longer, patients are advised to avoid teeth-staining food and drinks, such as red wine, coffee, and tea.
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