There are so many dental whitening methods available today that choosing the best way to whiten your teeth is not easy. Some people prefer to go to their local Lakewood dentist office for a professional whitening session, while others prefer to choose methods that can be used in the comfort of their home – here are some tips and thoughts about the whitening process and the available options.
Why is Tooth Whitening Necessary?
Whether done at home or performed by a specialist, dental whitening is the process during which the impurities that cause the surface or the deeper layers of the teeth to become discolored or yellow are removed either with the help of abrasives or with special whitening substances.
Many of the foods and the drinks we consume contain colorants that stain the outermost layer of the tooth called the enamel – coffee, tea, dark-colored foods, such as chocolate, berries, grapes and beets all contain pigments that can stain the enamel of the tooth and acidic foods and beverages also promote staining by eroding the surface of the enamel. If the consumption of tooth-staining foods and beverages is not paired with a very thorough dental hygiene regimen, the pigments consumed cause the teeth to become yellow.
Some physical conditions and medications also cause the discoloration of teeth, but unlike the staining caused by our diet and our lifestyle, this type of yellowing affects the deeper layers of the tooth and in most cases it cannot be addressed with methods that treat the enamel on the teeth. In the case of intrinsic discolorations, the only method available is intrinsic bleaching with special gel products.
Available Dental Whitening Methods
Dental whitening methods can be classified into two groups: professional whitening procedures performed by a dentist and at-home methods that use over-the-counter whitening products or natural substances, the best way to whiten your teeth being almost entirely a matter of preference.
If you turn to a dentist, you can choose from the following methods:
- Bleaching – the most common procedure, suitable for removing discolorations from the enamel of the tooth as well as from the deeper layers;
- Laser whitening – the process starts with the application of a protective dam on the gums, then comes application of special paint on the teeth and the usage of laser light that bleaches the teeth when it comes into contact with the paint;
- Mechanical whitening – your dentist uses a small piece of rubber that rotates at high speed and abrasive materials to remove the stains from the surface of the enamel.
If you prefer to whiten your teeth at home, you can choose over-the-counter products or natural substances that are available in most households. There are numerous at-home whitening products available – most of them come in the form of gels or pastes to be applied on the teeth using special trays or strips and to be kept on for a specific amount of time. The most common methods using natural substances include oil pulling (swishing your mouth at least a day with olive oil that pulls the impurities off the enamel) and brushing with baking soda every few days.
Identifying the best way to whiten your teeth will probably require you to experiment with different methods, but whichever technique you choose, make sure to back it up with a thorough dental cleaning routine because that is the only way to achieve and to maintain the results.