The first thing that you have to do is visit your dentist and check if you are a candidate for tooth whitening or bleaching. If you have fillings or some restorative work done on your teeth, whiteners may not affect the color of the fillings. The degree of whitening is also dependent on the natural color of your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, there are several modes of tooth whitening or bleaching:
- In office bleaching. This is done by your dentist and is more popularly known as chair side bleaching. The dentist applies a protection to the soft tissues of your mouth, usually a gel or a rubber sheet. Then she applies the bleaching agent to your teeth and a laser light may be used. This laser light will enhance the action of the bleaching agent. After the procedure, you need to go back to your dentist at least twice a year for a check up.
- At home bleaching. This involves the use of peroxide-containing gels that are placed in mouth guards and inserted in the mouth. This method bleaches the enamel (first layer of the teeth) only. This may have potential side effects such as tooth sensitivity and irritation of the gums. It is best to consult your dentist prior to applying this method.
- Whitening toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stains as all toothpastes contain mild abrasives. Whitening toothpastes (that have the ADA seal of acceptance) usually contain a special chemical or a polishing agent that offers additional stain removal efficacy. Unlike bleaches, these whitening toothpastes do not affect the color of your teeth as these can only remove surface stains.
Remember when you are contemplating to have your teeth whitened, research, be informed and most of all, consult you dentist.