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  Category: Articles » Health & Fitness » Beauty » Article

Tooth Whitening: Power of the Smile

By Jared Winston

It is said that the face is the mirror of the human mind. A beautiful face achieves results or good first impressions easily while the opposite provides an uphill struggle. Not surprisingly, our teeth draw in a great deal of attention and are a significant factor in judging attractiveness, so a clean, white smile can play a crucial role in how you are first perceived by many. Lustrous teeth portray our confidence and eventually help us to win the hearts of those we interact with.

Tooth whitening is a way of brightening the natural color of our teeth. This should be done without removing any of the tooth's surfaces and enamels. Enamels should not be affected during the process of tooth whitening as this may result in tooth decay and eventual failure, so harsher methods should not be applied despite their bleaching potency. It is not possible to make a complete color change; instead the existing shades are simply lightened.

One of the largest contributors to discolored teeth is the fact that we have moved away from the natural style of living and eating. The processed foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, as well as habits like smoking and drinking, are continuously staining our teeth. Tarter can also affect the color of our teeth.

Tooth whitening, also referred to as tooth bleaching, is an effort to remove these stains and discoloration. It is an aesthetic dentistry technique to lighten pigmentation within the teeth.

Professional bleaching is the most common form of tooth whitening; hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is commonly used for this purpose. This liberates oxygen to the teeth and oxidizes stains and cracks, thereby brightening the tooth color. For this process the gums are usually first covered with gels, and special trays are used to apply the materials. Normally this will be finished within 30-minutes to one hour.

Apart from this conventional cleaning, laser whitening methods (also referred to as power whitening ) are regularly employed now. In this process, after protecting gums with a suitable cover a bleaching product is painted onto the teeth. This product is then activated via laser beams, whereupon the light catalyzes the chemical reaction of the whitening product. This teeth whitening method is faster compared to the aforementioned one, and is more effective too. It can make your teeth six to eight shades lighter, but even though it has these advantages it is a far more costly option.

With at-home tooth whitening options, the dental patient has the bleaching materials with them at home and performs bleaching treatments of their own. Be careful, because this method lacks proper supervision and thus requires diligent application. Whitening teeth with peroxide bleaching compounds has become an extremely popular procedure, and as such whitening toothpastes are readily available in the markets. However they do not affect the natural color of your teeth, for they are aimed at removing the stains in the teeth thereby giving a better appearance to them.

In dental clinic based tooth whitening, it is done in a professional way under total supervision. They start with examining the health of the teeth, such as checking the teeth for cavities since tooth whitening gels can damage the cavities in the teeth. So as the first step any cavities are repaired, then the teeth are cleaned of any lingering plaque. A tray is then customized to fit the client's mouth. This custom prepared mouth tray with whitening gel is fitted and kept as such for ten to twenty days.

The effects of professional tooth whitening can last up to three years. However, the life of the result may vary from person to person and the living habits of each person. For persons that have smoking habits, alcoholics etc., the effect is not likely to last as long. Such habits can re-lodge stains and cavities in the teeth.

A few side effects are often reported after the tooth whitening. Some people find that their teeth have become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. To a few, discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line occur due to teeth whitening. It is found that these symptoms are not long lasting to majority of the people. Any prolonged problem can be the results of other factors which require immediate attention of a dentist.

As shown above, once decolorized, the advance dental clinics can restore or create whiter teeth for us, but this can be maintained or its effects can be delayed if good practices are followed. It is advisable to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Excessive intake of sugar products are to be avoided. Alcoholic drinks and smoking habits are also not to be practiced, or at the least bit should be minimized. By following these basic practices, our teeth will offer a prolonged glow if supplemented by a yearly visit to a dentist.

Copyright Jared Winston, 2006. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author
Before you seek out the best teeth whitening products for your needs stop by Lustrous Teeth where we discuss the essentials of teeth whitening.

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