They say a smile is worth a thousand words, but depending on how white your teeth are, you may think your smile is worth less. There are many reasons why your teeth can become discolored, and not all of them are directly due to your actions. If you are looking for teeth whitening options, there are several routes available to you, but how do you know if they are good for your teeth? Can teeth whitening possibly make your teeth more sensitive or ruin your smile? Let’s review the basics of teeth whitening, and you can decide for yourself.

Why Are My Teeth Discolored?

There are many reasons why a person’s teeth can become discolored. Most commonly, it is due to extrinsic discoloration. Some examples of extrinsic discoloration are staining from coffees, teas, and red wines and smoking. Also, certain other foods and beverages can discolor your teeth by wearing away at the white enamel on them. Lastly, any stains on the outside of your teeth will cause them to look discolored. There are also intrinsic discolorations of teeth. These discolorations come from within the tooth, and these can include medication use, infection, tooth trauma, and even childhood illness. Discuss these with your dentist if you believe that your teeth are naturally or unnaturally discolored.

What Are My Whitening Options?

If you are looking for a way to brighten your smile, there are both professional options and at-home kits for you to try. As always, discuss all options with your dentist before deciding.

Professional Teeth Whitening:

There are two forms of professional teeth whitening services that you can use. The first option is to have whitening services done in the dentist’s office. These highly trusted treatments work quickly and last longer than other treatments. Administered by a trained professional, these treatments are safer, and the whitening concentration is higher than that of an over-the-counter whitening product. With only a one-hour session, or as many as 2-3 treatments, you will be able to see drastic results at the hands of a skilled and qualified dentist.

Your dentist can also give you custom whitening trays to take home. With the same whitening power as the in-office procedure, wearing these custom mouth trays for 30 minutes to an hour each day for a few weeks will improve the appearance of your teeth.

At-Home Kits for Teeth Whitening:

There are several over-the-counter options for teeth whitening. These are done without the overview of your dentist and can be exponentially cheaper. Whitening toothpastes can be purchased at any retail drug or grocery store. When used regularly, these products can whiten your teeth over time. However, this process does take some time, and the product must be used meticulously. They may also have harmful abrasives that can harm your teeth, making them more sensitives. Whitening strips are also an option for those looking for an over-the-counter tooth whitening solution. Containing a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, these strips, when applied 1-2 times per day, can show results. However, the price and potency, or timeframe, do vary wildly amongst brands. Although, they usually are cheaper than an in-office procedure overall.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

When your smile is less than pearly white, it can make you feel self-conscious, but is the treatment worth it? Overall, teeth whitening products and procedures can give you a whiter smile, a more youthful look, and a brighter grin. It can be a quick fix to your discolored teeth. However, tooth sensitivity is always a risk of these services, though technological advances are lessening that risk. The choices that are available to you are plentiful, as are the prices, but your results may vary. Also, upkeep is very important, as these are not permanent solutions. 

Overall, teeth whitening services and products can be safe and effective when used properly. If you have any questions or need more information on teeth whitening services, call Guilliot Dentistry. Their dental professionals are ready to bring your smile back to life!