Dental care and oral health information you need
from the Academy of General Dentistry


Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Know Your Teeth Academy of General Dentistry Know Your Teeth

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How Can I Brighten My Smile?

 
Chapter: What's Involved?

First, the dentist will determine whether you are a candidate for tooth bleaching and what type of bleaching system would provide the best results. If you're in a hurry for whiter teeth, you may decide to have your teeth lightened immediately. Your dentist will use either an in-office bleaching system or laser bleaching while you sit in the dental chair. Some patients choose dentist-supervised at-home bleaching, which is more economical and provides similar results.

 

If you don't choose laser bleaching, at your next appointment your dentist or hygienist will make impressions of your teeth to create a mouthguard appliance. The mouthguard is custom-made for your mouth and is lightweight so that it can be worn comfortably while you are awake or sleeping. The mouthguard is so thin that you should even be able to talk and work while wearing it. Along with the mouthguard, you'll receive the bleaching materials. You'll be given instructions on how to wear the mouthguard.

 

Some bleaching systems recommend bleaching your teeth for several hours a day. Generally this type of system requires two to four weeks to complete. Other systems recommend bleaching at night while you sleep. This type of system usually requires only 10 to 14 days to complete.

 

Over-the-counter bleaching systems are also available and are generally safe and effective, although it is best to check with your dentist before using these products. These systems, which come in the form of strips and gels, usually contain a lower strength of bleaching agent than products used in the dentist's office. For this reason, they must be used longer to achieve a desired effect, but they are also cheaper.
 
Reviewed: January 2012
 
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