Teeth whitening or bleaching is one of the most popular areas of cosmetic dentistry. Even subtle changes in shading can make you look years younger. Several factors can contribute to the darkening of teeth, including the effects of age, certain foods and drinks, smoking and medications.
Custom take-home trays with peroxide gel provided by Lowell dentist Dr. Szarek are a convenient, effective and long-lasting way to whiten your teeth.
During an initial visit, Dr. Szarek will make an impression of your teeth to create custom trays to fit your teeth. You will wear the trays and special professional-strength peroxide gel for several hours each day until your desired shade of whiteness is achieved. After that, you simply stop wearing the trays, using them only for periodic touch ups later.
What about over-the-counter teeth whitening?
The grade of peroxide products used by professional dentists is much stronger than those that are available for purchase in drug and grocery stores. Although you can achieve somewhat whiter teeth using these products, they will take much longer and require sustained, consistent use of the product, which is difficult for many people to do. Additionally, the trays provided with over the counter products are not designed to fit your individual mouth and cannot achieve the same accuracy of application as the custom designed trays can.
Though over the counter systems may seem less expensive at first, it many cases the treatments actually cost more because the products must be used for a longer time.
Teeth whitening — Gels or toothpastes?
It’s important to remember that, in order for permanent whitening to occur, the peroxide must penetrate the surface enamel of the tooth to the dentin (interior of the tooth) underneath. Peroxide bleaching gels and whitening toothpastes actually do two different things. Gels, used consistently over time, will permanently whiten the teeth because most noticeable stains are the ones that have penetrated the dentin. Peroxide toothpastes will bleach the surface of the tooth, providing some temporary effect because they act on minor discolorations in the surface enamel.
To get your teeth permanently white, the peroxide must remain in contact with the tooth long enough to penetrate the surface enamel (as it does with the dental trays) and not only briefly touch the tooth before being rinsed off.
Is teeth whitening right for you?
Depending on the cause of the stains or discoloration on your teeth, bleaching them will only make the stains more noticeable. The best approach to a brighter smile is having your teeth examined by Dr. Szarek. He will determine if bleaching will help your teeth, or if another treatment is more suitable.
If you are interested in a brighter smile, request an appointment online or call our office at 978-454-9332 to schedule an appointment.
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