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Teeth bleaching to whiten teeth:

There are many products currently on the market that promise whiter, brighter teeth, many times overnight. But, dental professionals, and the American Dental Association, issue a word of caution about the improper use of such over-the-counter products, as they are often too abrasive and can damage the teeth with extended use. Most will contend that there is nothing harmful about many teeth bleaching procedures, as long as they are dentist-supervised. In most supervised cases, teeth bleaching can effectively whiten and brighten the color of teeth for up to five years, without softening or weakening the teeth and gum line.

Who may benefit from teeth bleaching?

Most beneficial Moderately beneficial Not recommended
  • age spots
  • yellow or orange spotting on teeth caused by coffees, teas, berries and other foods, or smoking
  • gray or brown stains caused by fluorosis (excessive intake of fluoridated water)
  • gray stains caused by smoking and/or the use of certain medications
  • overly-sensitive teeth
  • persons with a gum or mouth disease (periodontal disease or oral cancer)
  • persons with worn tooth enamel

What are some different teeth-whitening methods?

The dentist will use either an in-office bleaching system or laser bleaching while you are in the dental chair. Most patients, however, choose dentist-supervised at-home bleaching, which is more economical and, in most cases, provides the same results.

At-home bleaching involves using a custom-made mouthguard that can be worn comfortably while you are awake or sleeping. The mouthguard is so thin that you should even be able to talk and work while wearing it. Some bleaching systems recommend bleaching your teeth from two to four hours a day - these usually take three to six weeks to complete and work best on patients with sensitive teeth. Other systems recommend bleaching your teeth at night, while you sleep, which may only take 10 to 14 days to complete.

Teeth bleaching side effects and health risks:

The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval on some teeth whitening products. Consult your dentist regarding which products are most effective and safe to use. As a general rule, the most effective and safest method of tooth bleaching is dentist-supervised.

Gum irritation and increased tooth sensitivity are the most common side effects of teeth bleaching. However, each individual may experience side effects differently.

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