Important Facts About Teeth WhiteningImportant Facts About Teeth Whitening

Because of the porcelain-like enamel surface of teeth, every one of us starts out with white teeth. But over time, the enamel wears down and becomes transparent, which allows dentin (the tooth's core material which has a yellow hue), to show through. And, due to the chewing process of eating, the enamel on our teeth can end up with millions of micro-cracks that fill up with stains and debris resulting in teeth that are no longer white and sometimes very unattractive.

But we all want white, beautiful teeth again...the kind we had as children...and teeth whitening promises us those very results. And every where we look teeth whitening products are being advertised--on websites, in magazines and newspapers, and on radio and television. In fact, in some areas, teeth whitening kiosks are showing up in shopping malls. The problem with the easy availability of these products is that strong chemicals are being applied to teeth by people who don't know anything about the chemicals or what effect they could have on the hard and soft tissue surfaces inside the mouth.

To begin with, if any tooth decay, gum disease, cracked teeth or other dental problems exist and are not corrected before a whitening chemical is applied, the process could irritate the condition and cause pain, sensitivity and discomfort to the patient. And whitening products won't work for everyone because some stains and discoloration do not respond to the chemicals used in the procedure. The process only works on natural teeth and does not impact crowns, tooth-colored fillings, bonding materials or veneers. If any of these substances are on your teeth, a whitening process could either be a total waste of money or it could create uneven results and actually end up detracting from your smile. And, the bleaching trays that can be obtained on Internet sites, because they have not been fitted for your mouth, can cause gagging, gum irritation and even damage to existing dental work.

The teeth whitening process, when done by a dentist, begins with an examination to determine if teeth bleaching will give you the results you are looking for. If not, your dentist can suggest some alternative choices. And if teeth whitening will work for you, your dentist will begin the procedure by applying a protective substance that will guard your gums against the harsh chemicals use in the bleaching process. Then your teeth are etched with an acid solution followed by an oxidizing agent that is applied to your tooth enamel. Then the process is completed with the use of a bright light or laser.

When it comes to your teeth, it is always a good idea to check with your dentist before trying to do any process or procedure on your own. And even though the over-the-counter methods may seem less expensive, if the products don't work or if they give you undesirable results, they don't turn out to be such a good deal after all. And if they actually damage your teeth, they could turn out to be a very bad choice.

Everybody wants a beautiful, bright smile and trusting your dentist to help you with the process will give you the final result of teeth that are not only white, but are strong and healthy as well.
by Dr. Susan Wells
References and Bibliography
Dr. Susan Wells DMD has been practicing dentistry in Alabama since 1978. Although she treats patients for all aspects of general dentistry, the cosmetic procedures including traditional teeth whitening are what she enjoys the most. Visit her site at http://DrSusanWells.com.
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