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Home teeth whitening

Why aren’t my teeth white in colour?

Teeth are not meant to be brilliantly white, but having a stained or discoloured smile can really take its toll on a person confidence, causing them to stop smiling or talking much in public. If this sounds like you, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily your lifestyle that is completely to blame. Of course, smoking and drinking a lot won’t do the colour of your teeth any favours, but the unavoidable factors, like genes and the aging process, certainly play their part. Over time, the enamel starts to thin and can’t maintain a strong enough barrier against stains, this causes the teeth to look discoloured. It’s worth knowing that magazines and TV shows do paint an unrealistic picture of how normal people look, but there’s no harm in brightening up your smile if it’s damaging your self-esteem.

Can I do teeth whitening myself?

As with most salon beauty treatments, you can experiment and have a go yourself at home, you might not see the same dramatic results, but you probably won’t spend as much money either. There are numerous home teeth whitening kits on the market, with prices ranging from a few pounds for whitening toothpaste, to twenty or thirty pounds for a full bleaching kit. Your dentist should be able to recommend a DIY kit for a follow-up treatment at home, they might also stock several at their surgery that you can purchase.

The Pearl Dental Clinic provides the very best in teeth whitening, as well as selling some highly successful take-home treatments that you can try yourself. Dentist-recommended products are probably going to be the most effective choice, but you could try any one of the off-the-shelf whiteners – usually available at a lower price.

What sorts of teeth whitening products are available?

As the ‘Hollywood smile’ continues to gain popularity, the home teeth whitening market has exploded in an effort to capitalise on the exposure. There are lots of products to choose from, you might also try the internet for reviews and tips on getting the best out of your purchase – customers who have tried and tested different methods will be able to help you pick one.

At the higher end of the price range are the bleaching kits, they contain a low percentage of peroxide so they are safe for personal use. Inside the kit is a bleaching tray, this holds the whitening solution against the teeth for a period of time, until the stains begin to break down. This is a very popular whitening technique, primarily because it gives results in around a week, but also because it’s very simple to use and can be bought at any pharmacy or cosmetics shop. In recent years, bleaching strips have also taken off, thanks to quick and effective treatment times – and much less mess than other methods. Bleaching pens are popular too, although they don’t contain as much peroxide and therefore require a longer period of time to take effect.

Toothpastes and chewing gums are the cheapest whitening options available, so it’s probably no surprise that they are the least successful. Abrasive products like these concentrate on scrubbing away the stains, rather than bleaching them, this can be quite damaging to the porous enamel – especially when used too vigorously. Cleaning your teeth is obviously a must, but you probably won’t see a great deal of change in colour if you rely on whitening pastes and gums.

How do teeth whitening kits work?

Home teeth whitening kits provide everything you need to alter the appearance of your teeth by about five shades over the course of a week. The key to whitening the teeth lies in both the amount of bleach it contains and how long it is left in contact with the enamel – there should be instructions to follow, but you can always consult with your dentist if you’re unsure about certain ingredients or techniques. The kits that are most effective will have a slightly higher level of bleach in them, although not as much as professional grade whitening agents, this is what makes them better than most other products.

The bleaching solution is placed in the tray, which is then fitted over the teeth and held there for around thirty minutes. Because the gel is in direct contact with the teeth, undiluted and undisturbed, it will be able to break down the stains more effectively. For the best results, use every day for about a week, then you should see a significant difference in colour. Don’t brush your teeth before applying the bleach; this will make your gums far more sensitive to any gel that might escape from the tray. With a personally specified kit prescribed by your dentist, you should get a tray that has been moulded on your own teeth; this tends to eliminate gel leakage and promises a much better performance.

Can anyone try home teeth whitening?

Providing your mouth is in a healthy condition, there shouldn’t be any problem with you trying an at home teeth whitening treatment – it’s even better if you’ve visited the dentist within the last twelve months. Having said that, there are several groups of people who should avoid bleaching their teeth, for aesthetic reasons, but also for health reasons in some cases:

If you have very sensitive teeth, whitening may exacerbate the problem. Talk to your dentist about what’s causing the sensitivity and they might be able to help you with it. People on certain antibiotics or who fear they might be allergic to some ingredients in the gel should also speak with a healthcare professional before going ahead with treatment, it’s unlikely that a reaction would be fatal, but you should always consider your health above the appearance of your teeth. Similarly, most physicians would advise against pregnant women undergoing the procedure, as well as those that are breast feeding. It’s not known whether there are any adverse effects, but it’s just common sense to keep bleach and other chemicals away from babies.

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