At-home Teeth Whitening: Considerations For Safe Bleaching

Thinking about whitening your teeth? It seems that these days people are being urged at every turn to deal with their dingy, yellow teeth and make them sparkly white. This is quite an attractive prospect, especially since advertisers have a way of making you feel you're the only one whose teeth aren't perfect. With the popularity of this procedure, over the counter kits have become commonplace so that you can whiten your teeth in the privacy of your home. However, there are some caveats you would be wise to observe if you are considering at-home teeth bleaching.

How your teeth get dingy

Teeth get a yellowed, dingy look to them because of certain foods (such as berries, tomato sauce, pickles and balsamic vinegar) and liquids (coffee and tea are still top culprits). Cigarette smoking is a main contributor as well. These substances erode tooth enamel and then fill in the microscopic porous surfaces left behind, staining your teeth.

How to get them white again

Teeth bleaching works by applying a peroxide-based bleaching agent to whiten stained areas. In-home methods include the following

  • Whitening strips. You simply apply these strips, soaked in the bleaching agent, to your teeth once or twice a day, usually for about two weeks. The results can last as long as four months. The average cost of these strips ranges from $10-55.

  • Trays. Pour the bleaching agent into upper and lower trays and place them over your teeth for about an hour a day. You will need to do this consistently for as long as a month. These are significantly more expensive (especially if you need custom trays created by your dentist); kits range from $150-600.

  • Whitening toothpastes. These are the least expensive option for at-home whitening. The bleaching agent, when combined with abrasive toothpaste, whitens teeth by one shade.

Considerations for at-home whitening

Whitening your teeth at home offers advantages over professional bleaching; for instance, it will cost you less money and keep you from having to make repeat visits to your dentist's office. However, there are some important considerations you need to know if you choose to bleach your teeth without the input or assistance of your dentist.

  1. Bleaching might hurt. If the bleaching agent seeps into cavities or cracks in your teeth, you may experience extreme pain. Even if you don't experience this, you may notice acute sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures for a few weeks following application.

  2. Bleaching might harm your teeth. Whitening solutions can erode tooth enamel, which can never be replaced. If this happens, your teeth may take on a bluish or gray hue. Further, insufficient enamel makes your teeth soft, which means they will be vulnerable to cracks, breaks, and cavities.

  3. Bleaching can get out of hand. The term "bleachorexia" has been coined to describe teeth whitening addiction. Without the supervision of a dentist to see potential abuse of bleaching agents, some people use far more solution than is required and far more often than recommended. Never satisfied with the brightness of their teeth, they cannot stop themselves from the impossible pursuit of what is, in their minds, the "perfect" shade of white.

At-home teeth bleaching is an extremely popular choice for restoring your smile after years of iced coffees and berry smoothies. If you want to use a home kit, the best advice is to see your dentist for a complete check up before proceeding. The dentist will check for cavities and cracked teeth and treat them prior to your whitening endeavors. He/she will also offer you advice about how to best use the method you've chosen so you can avoid potential problems. Before you know it, your smile will dazzle back at you from the bathroom mirror. Go to site for more information.