What Are Your Options for Teeth Whitening?

How whitening toothpaste works and how effective it is

All toothpaste are designed to remove stains on the teeth’s surface by means of mild abrasives. There are whitening toothpaste with gentle polishing/chemical agents that give added stain removal. Whitening toothpaste is only able to remove surface stains and does not have bleach.

In contrast, professional and over-the-counter whitening products have hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching substance), which helps in removing stains on the surface and deep inside the tooth. Whitening toothpaste for home use are not as effective in producing the bleaching results given by your dentist via power bleaching or chair-side bleaching.

Regular whitening toothpaste can make your tooth lighter by one shade. On the other hand, light-activated whitening done by your dentist can make your teeth lighter by three to eight shades.

I want to change the shape of my teeth. What available options are there?

There is a wide range of options on changing the shape of teeth, making teeth seem longer, closing spaces between teeth or fixing cracked/chipped teeth. Such options include bonding, crowns, recontouring and veneers.

Dental bonding

In this procedure, a tooth-colored resin material (made of durable plastic) is applied to the surface of the tooth and hardened using a special light, which “bonds” it to the tooth.

Dental crown

These tooth-shaped “caps” are placed over the teeth. When the crowns are cemented into place, they cover the whole visible part of a tooth that lies on top of the gum line.

Recontouring

Teeth recontouring or reshaping (also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, slenderizing or stripping) is a procedure wherein small quantities of tooth enamel are removed to change the length, surface or shape of a tooth.

Veneers

These are sometimes referred to as porcelain veneers/dental porcelain laminates. They are wafer-thin, customized shells of tooth-colored materials designed to hide the front teeth surface. They are bonded to the front surface of the teeth.

All of these options vary in terms of cost, “chair time” needed to finish the procedure, stain resistant features, durability and best cosmetic approach in resolving the problem. Consult your dentist to know the right one for you.

What are dental sealants? Who can get them? How long will they last?

The thin, plastic coating painted on the teeth’s chewing surfaces like the back teeth (molars, premolars) to protect against tooth decay are called sealants. The liquid sealant which is painted on bonds fast into teeth depressions and groves to form a shield over the tooth enamel to protect it.

Children often have sealants on their permanent teeth (molars and premolars) once their teeth appear. This way, dental sealants will be able to protect their teeth during the time when they are more prone to cavities, from 6 to 14 years of age. Nevertheless, adults can benefit from sealants as well, even if they do not have fillings or tooth decay.

Though sealants can prevent tooth decay for a long time, they still need to be examined for wear and tear or chipping during regular dental visits.

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