We Brits have generally not had a very good reputation for having the perfect smile, but now thanks to the ease and popularity of teeth whitening that could be changing.
From as soon as those first little teeth start appearing at just a few months old it is important to take care of your teeth and gums to keep them healthy, but sometimes nature needs a bit of a helping hand if you want your teeth to have that film star quality.
Teeth whitening has become a mainstream procedure available on pretty much every high street and is the ideal solution to put the sparkle into teeth that have become stained, yellowed or discolored.
Book a consultation with your dentist to assess your suitability for teeth whitening and the options available that will suit you and your budget. Dental health problems such as gum disease may rule you out. Remember that whitening will not work on crowns, fillings or veneers so you may need to change them to match up with the color of your newly whitened teeth.
Most dentists offer two methods of teeth whitening. You can choose between using a professional kit at home or laser whitening in the surgery.
Both use a bleaching process that contains a gel made up of between 3% and 30% peroxide. The higher the levels of peroxide, the more powerful and therefore the more effective. However, high levels of peroxide are also more likely to lead to side effects such as damage to gum tissue and sensitivity so talk to your dentist and make sure you understand what is being recommended for you.
Laser tooth whitening will take place in the dental surgery. It takes between one and two hours and gives instant results, often making teeth as much as 10 shades lighter. Professional home whitening kits give more permanent results that last longer, so your dentist may recommend that you follow up your laser treatment with a home kit.
Your other option is to only use a professional whitening kit. The dentist takes a mold of your teeth and uses this to customize teeth whitening trays that will properly fit your mouth. Your dentist will also supply the professional whitening gel and give you instructions how to use the system. You may need to wear the trays overnight or just for a few hours a day.
Whichever method you use you may experience some sensitivity or pain during and/or after treatment but it should disappear after a couple of days. Avoid eating or drinking hot or cold items for 48 hours and ask your dentist for a gel or mousse that might help to minimize the sensitivity. Once your your teeth whitening is complete, enjoy flashing that new, perfect smile.
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