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Tooth whitening is quickly gaining in popularity. If you want a brighter smile, you can discuss it with your dentist during your next visit. The dentist will begin by cleaning your teeth and carrying out a comprehensive examination to rule out the presence of cavities or defective restorations. Then he can determine the cause behind your tooth discoloration, which is a crucial step in the success of the treatment.

There are many reasons why teeth change colour. First of all, there may be an accumulation of dental plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth, which becomes stained if you frequently drink coffee, tea, or red wine, or are a heavy smoker. A simple cleaning and polishing may be sufficient to eliminate superficial staining. Sometimes the staining is lodged in the tooth enamel and dentin. Other causes of discoloration are the natural aging of the teeth, the use of tobacco products or some medications, excessive consumption of fluoride at a young age, and cavities.

Some people get better whitening results than others. Teeth with yellow discoloration usually respond better than teeth with a brownish discoloration. A grey discoloration is the result of taking tetracycline in early childhood to treat a disease, or taking minocycline in adolescence or young adulthood to treat acne. This type of discoloration is more resistant to tooth whitening, and may not be totally eliminated in some cases. Restoration work done to your front teeth may have discoloured over time and should be changed for a more appropriate tint.

Tooth Whitening Techniques

1. At-home Whitening

Under the supervision of a dentist, you can whiten your teeth at home. Before beginning the treatment, the dentist makes an impression of your teeth from which a stone model is made. This model is used to create a custom plastic mouth tray that adapts perfectly to your teeth. A small quantity of gel containing a concentration of about 10% carbamide peroxide is dispensed into the tray to whiten the teeth. The tray must be worn either during the day or at night, according to your preference or schedule. The treatment lasts approximately two weeks, or longer for persistent stains or to achieve more satisfactory results. Possible side effects are tooth sensitivity and/or gum irritation. Tooth sensitivity usually disappears after the treatment is complete. Your dentist may recommend neutral fluoride or a special toothpaste such as Sensodyne that can be dispensed into your tray for 30 minutes sessions over the course of a few days in order to eliminate sensitivity.

2. In-office Whitening

If at-home whitening does not appeal to you, then the dentist can whiten your teeth in his office. He begins by isolating your teeth and protecting your gums with a gel or rubber dam and applying the whitening agent, usually a gel containing a 30-35% concentration of hydrogen peroxide, to your teeth for a few minutes. The product is then removed and a second application is made. It is usually necessary to repeat the procedure three or four times during a session. The procedure lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and more than one visit may be necessary.

3. Chewing gums and whitening toothpastes

All toothpastes help remove superficial staining of the teeth because of their gentle abrasive action. Some "whitening" toothpastes contain chemicals or abrasive agents that are even more effective in eliminating stains. However, neither these products nor whitening chewing gum will affect a tooth's natural coloration.

4. Over-the-counter whitening agents

Although it may be tempting to try the many over-the-counter whitening products, caution is needed. To save time and money, it is best to consult the dentist. He will let you know if whitening is right for you and what product he recommends.

Reference : http://www.ordredesdentistesduquebec.qc.ca

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