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In your dentist’s office, he or she applies a gel or a rubber shield to protect your gums and oral tissues. Then bleach is put on your teeth. Ask your dentist if the bleaching agents have the ADA seal of acceptance.
A special light or a laser may be used to help the bleach work better. But, as of publication, no products that use lasers are accepted by the ADA. If you and your dentist use this method, you may have to visit your dentist more than once. You will see results right away; usually your teeth will be about five shades brighter. It works well on different types of stains on your teeth.
You get these products from your dentist, but you use them at home. They contain peroxide(s), which actually bleach the tooth enamel. Most of these solutions are in gel form. The solution is placed in a mouth guard or tray that fits inside your mouth around your teeth. How long you use them depends on what results you’re looking for and if you are sensitive to the bleach. Some products are made to be used about twice a day for two weeks. Others are used overnight for one to two weeks. They work well on many types of stains on your teeth. You can get your teeth about six shades brighter with long-lasting results.
You can buy these products through many different sources and use them at home. They include whitening strips, paint-on products and gels and trays. They have a low amount of peroxide. There are both products you wear during the day and products you apply at night before bedtime.
They have limited results if you use them before you have a professional remove the stains. But they can help prolong the results you get from this earlier treatment. They can help with stains that result from age and certain foods. You can get about two shades brighter for up to six months. As of writing, none of these gels and trays are accepted by the ADA.
All toothpastes help remove surface staining of your teeth through their mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes with the ADA seal have special polishing agents that remove even more stains. Unlike bleaches, these products do not change the actual color of your teeth. They help with slight surface stains only. You get temporary results of perhaps one to two shades brighter.
Talk with your dentist before you use any whitening products. Your dentist can help you decide which method is best for the type of stains on your teeth. Not all products will work on all people. The options offered by your dentist can be expensive. Be certain to ask what results you can really expect.
Remember: Whitening your teeth alone does not make your mouth any healthier.