Most commonly, tooth discoloration or dullness is caused by foods and beverages that are consumed, including coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, some spices, and artificial and natural food colorings. Tobacco use is another common culprit of tooth discoloration. These issues can be addressed with professional teeth whitening designed to remove stains in the superficial layers of the tooth including the enamel. Some tooth darkening in the interior portion of the tooth can be caused by tooth decay or nerve damage in the tooth, root canal procedures, chronic diseases or long-term use of certain medications. These issues need other approaches to correct, including crowns, bridges or dental bonding.
Professional in-office teeth whitening uses special products that are applied to the tooth surfaces to penetrate deep into the surface layers, removing stains and yellowing so teeth look whiter and brighter. Some systems may use a special light to activate the whitening agents. In-office teeth whitening can be completed in about an hour and provides dramatic results.
Take-home teeth whitening kits use special trays designed to fit the contours of your teeth so the whitening agent remains against the tooth surface and isn’t washed away by saliva or rubbed off by the lips. The trays are worn for a certain period of time each day. Most patients achieve optimal results in two to four weeks. At-home kits also can be used to prolong the results of in-office whitening treatments.
Yes, the products used in professional teeth whitening treatments are tested and approved for the safe and effective whitening of teeth.
Absolutely. Professional teeth whitening systems - both the in-office whitening treatments and the take-home kits - use stronger whitening agents designed to be used under the supervision of a dentist. Plus, the take-home trays provided by a dentist are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth and teeth for more consistent results than the one-size-fits-all over-the-counter products available in the local drugstore.
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