Nobody is happy with yellow or brown teeth. Ugly stains from smoking or consuming foods and drinks prone to discoloring your teeth can make you a good candidate for teeth whitening. There are many techniques available to restore your bright smile. The main two categories of teeth whitening are either at-home kits or professional treatment in a dental office. Let’s learn about these to see which you’d like to use to brighten your smile.
At-home teeth whitening
There are a variety of products you can try yourself to whiten your teeth. These treatments usually take a few weeks of use before your teeth are noticeably whiter. Also remember that most of these products cannot achieve as high of a level of whiteness as those performed professionally.
Kits – whitening kits contain a tooth mold and gel to place inside the mold. You wear the filled mold for about 30 minutes for 2-3 weeks.
Strips – thin whitening strips are coated with peroxide gel, and then you apply the strips directly to your teeth for 30 minutes for 14 days. Results become evident in a few days and last about four months.
Toothpaste – brushing with whitening toothpaste must be done consistently and you must be patient because reaching the desired outcome usually takes a couple of months.
Professional teeth whitening
Treatments done by a dentist are the fastest and most effective way to regain your pearly whites.
Laser whitening – the dentist coats your teeth with a hydrogen peroxide solution and then shines a laser light on them. This oxidizes the stains and gives them a whiter appearance.
Porcelain veneers – if your teeth are severely stained and other whitening techniques haven’t done the trick, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers. These shells permanently cover your teeth and provide a beautiful smile.
If you have chosen to utilize sedation dentistry to address your anxiety or discomfort during dental treatment, you need to make preparations beforehand to be certain you are safe following your dental visit. Some sedation options leave you unable to drive or make decisions clearly, and you should be prepared to face whatever lingering effects come your way.
Conscious oral sedation is prescribed in the form of a pill that is taken orally. Typically, this pill is taken about an hour prior to the procedure in order to ensure relaxation and ease. Often a dentist will recommend that the patient take a dose the night prior to the treatment, making sure that the patient rests well and is in the best mental and physical condition for recovery. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is another form of conscious sedation. Both the pills and the gas leave patients comfortable and at ease, but still responsive to commands by the dentist or staff.
The next level of sedation is intravenous sedation, also called IV sedation. This sedation is the fastest acting of all the sedation dentistry treatments. A known side-effect of IV sedation is memory loss, so most patients won’t remember what happened while they were “under.” Many patients believe erroneously that they were completely “out” or unconscious during treatment, but this isn’t true. You are still able to respond to commands, but the memory loss makes you feel as though you are asleep.
You will not be allowed to drive yourself following IV or conscious oral sedation. Even though you are up and walking and talking, it may take hours before the effects of the sedation wear off enough to make it safe for you to drive. Do not even consider trying to trick the dentist into thinking someone else is driving you home. You could cause a serious accident and harm yourself or others.
Talk to your dentist to determine what is recommended as far as recovery time goes for your specific sedation dentistry treatment choices.
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In the past, replacing lost teeth meant getting dentures or bridges. Even though these offered the best way at the time to restore your mouth’s appearance and function, technology has improved through the development of dental implants. The main drawbacks of bridges and dentures is that they do not feel or look just like real teeth, and it is difficult to chew tough foods. The advantage of implants is that they look and perform so well that you can’t even tell they are not your natural teeth.
Made from titanium, dental implants are screws that are surgically placed directly into your jawbone. They are light and malleable, but durable and strong. The titanium screws are implanted into your jawbone and given time to heal. Once healing is complete, one or multiple crowns are placed on top of the implant to recreate your missing teeth. One implant can hold more than one screw, so it is possible to attach as many crowns as needed to replace your missing teeth.
Dental implants look so much like real teeth that others won’t even be able to tell that you have any artificial teeth. You might even forget about it yourself, as they feel real as well. Since the implants are securely placed in your jaw, they are as strong as real teeth and you are able to chew and bite anything that you would normally eat. Another great thing about implants is that they don’t impact any of your adjacent healthy teeth. While bridges and dentures can sometimes damage neighboring teeth because those teeth are necessary for support, implants avoid this problem. You are left with a fully restored and comfortable smile.
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If you have just completed professional teeth whitening treatment, you probably want to protect your investment and extend the life of your shiny, bright smile. To enhance your healthy new smile and keep it white and bright, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines:
Do follow good oral hygiene practices by brushing and flossing regularly after every meal.
Don’t drink colored beverages such as red wine, coffee, cola or tea immediately after treatment, and continue to avoid them whenever possible to prevent staining.
Do drink beverages with a straw when you must drink dark-colored beverages to prevent the liquid from touching your teeth and causing stains.
Don’t eat pigment-intense foods for several weeks after whitening. Berries, dark chocolate, soy sauce and other foods with a dark color can leave residue that leads to staining.
Do use a gentle tooth whitening mouthwash after eating to rinse away food and debris that could cause staining and to keep your breath fresh.
Don’t wear lipstick or colored gloss for at least one week after whitening treatment, as your teeth are still sensitive immediately after treatment and lipstick can leave pigments that will stain your teeth.
Do use a whitening toothpaste to increase the results and aid in the longevity of your treatment.
Don’t forget to eat a healthy diet and drink water to keep your teeth strong and vibrant.
A whiter smile can brighten your face and take years off your looks. By following these easy recommendations, you can extend the life of your whitening treatment and enjoy the benefits of your bright, new smile.
We treat patients from Morehead City and the surrounding area