Today, we live in a very VANE society. We are pre-occupied not only
with our overall appearance but with the colour of our teeth ! It seems
that everyone wants to look like a movie star with that pearly white,
“perfect” smile.
As a practicing general dentist for over 40 years, I’ve witnessed
this teeth whitening phenomenon explode and the demand for a perfect smile
has never been greater that it is today!

This demand for a perfect smile has become a financial boom for
dentists who meet these demands by the public domain. One of the most current and
popular treatments of the teeth today is teeth bleaching. Bleaching of teeth is a
method that involves the use of chemical agents to lighten or brighten the colour
of your teeth.
Most stains and/or discolourations of teeth can be improved by two
bleaching methods. One method is for vital teeth (teeth that are healthy
and alive) and the other method is for treating non-vital or( dead teeth that
have been root canaled).

More often than not, most anterior (front teeth),that have been traumatized
and require root canal therapy, discolour, darken and become unsightly.

These discloured teeth can be treated by the non-vital bleaching technique
used only in a dental office and supervised by a professional.The vital bleaching
method for best results,should be done in a dental office setting as well.That said, it
can also be done by yourself at home with perhaps, a less predictable outcome.

Treating non-vital teeth can be quite challenging because the unsightly
stains are usually of the intrinsic kind ( embedded within the enamel surface).
Therefore, professional supervision is highly recommended for the optimum
results to be achieved in this case.

There are numerous bleaching agents and products on the market. They all
vary in costs and effectiveness. Their general use should be highly guarded.I would
like to think that all of these products are safe for your teeth. However that said,
many of these bleaching products are NOT SAFE and they should be used with caution !

A concern for their safety has been expressed because many manufacturers
do not have or provide long-term safety data regarding the effect of their
products on the teeth.

Although a bleaching procedure by a professional in an office setting may
cost more,the outcome will likely be more successful. As opposed to you buying a
bleaching product from a drug store or on-line and doing the procedure yourself.

Unfortunately, most of the claims by a manufactures are grossly exaggerated
in my opinion. Just think about It ! Do you really believe that any bleaching technique
can improve the brightness of your teeth by 10 to 12 shades lighter. I don’t think so !

If your lucky, you may be able to brighten the shade by 3 to 5 times. Even that
may be stretching it a little. The best results however will be accomplished in a dental
office, supervised by a professional.

You must also remember that all bleaching procedures are temporary
and they will have to be repeated from time to time. If you choose to do it yourself
using bleaching agents with tooth paste, tray applications or strips, the outcome will
be quite unpredictable.

The instructions, for bleaching your own teeth with any home bleaching
technique must be religiously adhered too. If you use too much or do the procedure
too long , your teeth may become sensitive and gum tissue damaged may even occur.

Remember, not all patients are good candidates for successful bleaching
procedures! For example, if you have existing tooth coloured fillings in your anterior
teeth that you want bleached, the tooth structure around the fillings will change
colour but the filling material will not.

When this happens,the old tooth coloured fillings usually appear darker than
they were before the bleaching procedure. Now, you are faced with the option of
replacing these fillings at a an expense that you originally did not anticipate. Of
course the dentist is happy because he or she can get into your pocket book and remove
more of your hard earned cash.

If you decide that you want to improve your smile by having a bleaching
procedure done, get a professional opinion to see if you are a good candidate. Even
if you decide to do it yourself with a home-care bleaching kit, get a professional
opinon first. This way, the final outcome will be more predictable.

The outcome may be better determined and hopefully your expectations
will be met and you will not be disappointed. Its important to understand that
one specific bleaching technique, may be good for some but not for everyone.

The degree of lightness achieved, depends entirely on the individuals
requirements and discolourations being dealt with. Teeth that have been
discoloured as a result of broad spectrum tetracycline antibiotic therapy,
will definitely be the most difficult to overcome!

If you do decide to bleach your own teeth by the technique you
select, remember, ” MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER !”

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