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4 Ways To Whiten Your Teeth

Many people would like to have white teeth. After a lifetime of drinking coffee, tea, or wine, or smoking, teeth become discolored. Not only that, but teeth naturally vary in color. Many a person who doesn't drink, smoke, or enjoy the occasional Starbuck's has yellow-hued teeth.

However, there are several possibilities for teeth whitening, from the cheap to the exorbitant, and from so-so results to amazing outcomes. Which method you chose will correspond to the amount of money you have to spend, and the amount of time you have to devote to the treatment.

1) DENTISTS

There are various dentists treatments, performed at their offices, that are overall very effective but among the most expensive treatments available. They use various strengths of bleaching agents (carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide being the two most widely used), often slightly more powerful than over-the-counter products. Dentists often make impressions of patients' teeth in order to create customized trays, which minimizes contact between the bleaching agent and gum tissue.

Keep in mind that a dental office procedure could range from $300 to over $100, depending on the type of procedure and where you live. A Manhattan dentist might charge five times as much as a dentist in Augusta, Georgia.

2) TOOTHPASTES

There are over-the-counter teeth whitening products, such as toothpastes and teeth whitening strips manufactured by the major toothpaste companies. Toothpastes are only mildly effective, largely because they can truly only remove surface stains. Most tooth stains are embedded in the enamel from years of drinking or smoking. The amount of bleaching agent needed - and the amount of time needed to for full stain-bleaching benefits - is not a good fit for toothpaste, which generally is only about 10-15% as effective as a professional treatment.

3) WHITENING STRIPS

Whitening strips are more effective, largely because the user spends more time with them applied to his teeth, and because the concentrations of bleaching agents are much higher than what is possible (or healthy) in toothpastes. Whitening strips are thin strips of plastic on which amounts of whitening gel has already been pre-spread at the factory. The user takes the strips out of the package and applies them to his teeth.

4) TRAY-BASED KITS

Tray-based kits are one of the most effective over-the-counter remedies for teeth whitening because of total submersion of the teeth in the bleaching agent, and the strength of the whitening agents used. Results often last as long as professional whitening done in a dentist's office, and are usually available commercially for a fraction of the price. This method uses rigid plastic trays into which a bleaching gel or liquid is placed. Then the customer wears the tray for an extended period of time, allowing the beaching agent to penetrate into the enamel to break up longstanding stains.

One must weigh the costs and benefits of each type of whitening. For someone with a lot of money, visiting the dentist would yield the best results. However, keep in mind that it would not only cost more money, but also take much more time to go for an actual appointment. Tray-based kits and other commercially available whitening gels are far more convenient, a fraction of the cost, and produce similar results to professional treatments.

by: Darren Pillsbury
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