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At this day and age teeth whitening has become one of the easiest and most accessible procedures in cosmetic dentistry. Whether at the dentist's or at home, teeth whitening will provide improvement in the whiteness of your teeth and smile. However, teeth bleaching or whitening isn't permanent and needs maintenance in order to stay up to par. Also keep in mind that tooth whitening cannot change the complete color of your teeth, but it will rather lighten the shade.

Whitening procedures

Non-Vital Whitening:This procedure is used on teeth which no longer have live nerves. The dentist places a whitening solution and filling in the tooth. After a few days the desired shade should be achieved.

Vital Whitening:Vital whitening involves a whitening solution in the form of gel. The gel holds hydrogen peroxide. Placed in a type of mouthguard, the gel is placed in the mouth for a period of time which depends on the desired effect. This type of whitening can be done at home as well as at the dentist's office. If you wish to have your teeth professionally bleached it may take up to an hour and a half. Also, you will need frequent treatment, namely up to 3 appointments. This also depends on the desired effect and the natural shade of your teeth.

When having your teeth bleached at the dentist, the dentist will first clean the teeth and make sure your mouth is healthy. Also the dentist may ask questions about the discoloration of the teeth and the desired effect. After choosing the right approach the dentist will apply the gel to the teeth. Certain whitening solutions are activated by light, heat or lasers. Laser teeth whitening is often too expensive for many. The same procedure holds for whitening teeth at home. However, it may be necessary to wear the mold several hours a day for up to four weeks. The in-home whitening is effective, yet time-consuming.

Safety and warnings

According to studies teeth whitening is safe. The whitening gels which are used to whiten teeth have been found harmless. However, gels with a higher amount of hydrogen peroxide may weaken the enamel of teeth. This can be avoided by adding fluoride to protect teeth. Nevertheless, should gum inflammation or tooth irritation occur, stop or reduce using the whitening solution. Another way to protect your teeth is to get a prescription of fluoride to treat the sensitivity of your teeth. If problems occur concerning the gums, consider certain over-the-counter products such as Orajel.

Whether you choose to have your teeth whitened or to whiten them yourself, be sure that you only choose safe options. Don't strain your teeth trying to achieve the perfect smile. Damaged enamel, irritated gums and inflammation can be avoided by following the rules set out by your dentist.