If you’re looking to create the perfect smile, tooth whitening and straightening might both be on your agenda.
The following is what you should know about cosmetic dentistry for tooth whitening and straightening.
Tooth Whitening at Home
Tooth whitening products that you can use yourself are limited compared to professional treatments at a dental clinic. They are lower in cost, however, and some people may be satisfied with the results they get from them.
For at-home tooth whitening, you have two overall options: either an over-the-counter whitening kit, such as gel- or strip-based products. For a higher investment, you can also get a “professional” at-home system, which can take several days, and is generally a bigger hassle than either basic whitening kits or professional treatments.
For most people, the ideal smile can’t be bought from a store, and so they turn to their trusted dentist for help.
Professional Tooth Whitening Treatments
In-office tooth whitening isn’t especially complicated, but it does require a skilled hand to avoid injuring your gum area.
The following are the steps involved in a professional tooth whitening procedure:
- First, the dentist will record the current exact color of your teeth.
- Next, your teeth will be polished using pumice, which is a grainy material that gently and safely rubs away plaque built up on your teeth.
- The dentist will put gauze into into your mouth to keep your teeth dry during the procedure.
- In addition to the gauze, a special retractor may be used to hold your lips, cheeks, and tongue out of the way, so no part of your mouth comes into contact with the whitening solution.
- Finally, a barrier will be placed along your gum-line to protect your gums from the solution.
- Next, the front surface of your teeth will be coated with the whitening solution. The bleaching agent used is usually either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
- After being applied, the whitening solution will be left on your teeth for 30 to 60 minutes. It may be reapplied occasionally, depending on the solution. If a curing light or laser is required to activate the whitening solution, one will be used now.
- Once the ideal shade you’ve chosen for your teeth has been reached, or the maximum time allotment has expired, the dentist will rinse your teeth. A fluoride application might follow to help with tooth sensitivity.
A tooth whitening procedure will usually take between 60 and 90 minutes. However, future visits may be scheduled to finish the process, depending on how far your teeth are from your target shade, and how effective the whitening solution is.
Teeth Straightening With Invisalign®
While braces are the norm for fixing crooked or misaligned teeth, they can cause the wearer to feel self-conscious, because they’re so noticeable.v
For the most complex dental problems, braces might still be the best choice. But for most people, especially those seeking very basic teeth straightening, Invisalign® will be a more appealing option.
Invisalign® treatments involve a transparent molded liner, computer-generated to perfectly fit your teeth and gradually move them into the position you want. Liners are worn 24 hours a day, and each liner is changed out every two weeks.
As you wear this series of liners, over time your teeth are straightened, resulting in your perfect smile.
The best part about Invisalign® treatments is that the liners, unlike bulky braces, are completely clear. This makes then very difficult, if not impossible, for people to notice on the wearer.
As you undergo your Invisalign® treatment, your dentist will be there every step of the way to make sure the straightening process is working properly. Invisalign® employs 3D imaging technology to map out the entire process of straightening your teeth, from their starting position to their desired position.
Getting the perfect smile, whether by tooth whitening or straightening, doesn’t have to be complicated. Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of what to expect as you go about your journey to the perfect smile.