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What’s the first thing you notice about another person’s smile? If you’re like most folks, it’s the color of their teeth. While white is the most widely accepted standard for beauty in teeth, though, many of us have experienced the dismay of realizing that our smiles have become discolored with the passage of time.

It can happen to anyone. Whether it’s because of the consumption of certain foods or beverages, or because you haven’t kept up with your oral hygiene regimen as well as you should, teeth are susceptible to dulling in color, or transitioning to a more off-white or yellowed pigment. The good news is that you don’t have to live with problems like these forever. Cosmetic dentistry makes it possible to restore your teeth to their former bright, pearly-white glory.

How is this accomplished? Take a look at a few of the following methods for tooth whitening:

Professional In-Office Cosmetic Whitening

Having a cosmetic teeth whitening procedure done in-office is generally the most reliable means of improving the look of your smile. This is a very popular and common treatment that is non-invasive, fast, and effective. You’ll notice very significant results within a short window of time. The procedure typically involves the use of a highly concentrated volume of peroxide gel. Before the gel is applied to your teeth, your gums will be protected with a rubber dam. The gel only takes a few moments to be applied, and from there you will be required to let the gel sit for several intervals of 15-20 minutes. The total amount of time spent on whitening your teeth in-house will likely end up being approximately one hour. For teeth that have been particularly stained, you may need to make one or more return visits to correct the issue.

Professional Take-Home Cosmetic Whitening

If the idea of coming into the office doesn’t work for your schedule, you may be able to talk to your dentist about purchasing take-home cosmetic whitening kits. These are kits that have been approved for use by your dentist. He will likely wish to consult with you in order to explain how to use the kit for the best results. Usually, the kits include a lower-concentration peroxide gel which must be left on teeth overnight. You may need to follow up with your dentist to evaluate how well the gel worked to whiten your teeth.

OTC Kits

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits can also be used, although they may not be as reliable as those offered through your dental professional. While you may notice results, they may not be as significant, and your teeth may need to be touched up more frequently than had you gone through a dental professional.

Keep in mind that while teeth whitening can make a huge difference on the color of your teeth, the results are not permanent. Be sure to talk to your dentist about the frequency with which you’ll need to have your teeth touched up. He can also provide recommendations for properly caring for your teeth in order to extend the effects and keep your smile as white as possible.

With so many exciting options for whitening your teeth, the only question that remains is: what in the world are you waiting for? Making the decision to whiten your teeth can drastically improve your confidence and appearance. Regardless of which method you select for teeth whitening, though, it’s very important to consult with a professional. Dr. Bruce McArthur is happy to discuss your options with you and is more than qualified to perform an in-office cosmetic whitening procedure. Give us a call for a consult today!

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Having a great smile is one of the best ways to get noticed by others. Teens know this all too well. During that time in their lives, appearance is paramount. Looking good can improve self-esteem, and your child’s teeth is often one of the first things that get noticed. If they’re yellow or discolored, your child probably isn’t going to be heading to school as a very happy camper.

Teeth whitening is a safe, effective way for anyone to improve his or her smile, which is why it’s been catching on in recent years. However, if you’re going to allow your teen to get their teeth whitened, there are a few tips you should follow:

Tip #1: Consult with Your Dentist

Before you start any kind of teeth whitening treatment, it’s important that you speak to your dentist about it. Your dentist will examine your child’s teeth and advise you on how to proceed. Although there are at-home whitening treatments, an in-office visit is usually faster and more effective. Plus, your dentist can identify and repair any dental problems prior to treatment, such as cavities or enamel erosion, ensuring that your teen get the very most out of the treatment.

Tip #2: Whitening Toothpaste is Not a Simple Cure

The use of whitening toothpaste has increased in popularity over the years, in part because the idea of whitening your teeth while brushing every day is quite an attractive proposition. However, it’s important to realize that while these toothpastes can be effective in removing surface stains, bigger problems won’t be affected too much. You’re not going to see a drastic change in the appearance of your teeth simply by using a teeth whitening toothpaste.

Tip #3: Avoid At-home Whitening Treatments for Youngsters

The suggested age you’ll hear from most dentists for the use of whitening treatments is around 14 or 15. If your child is under the age of 13, you definitely want to avoid at-home whitening treatments. Instead, confer with your dentist to see what he or she recommends for your teenage son or daughter. If your dentist tells you to hold off a year or two, you should heed that advice.

Tip #4: Explain to Your Teen What to Expect

Teens these days have grown up in a very “immediate” world. Meaning that when they want to see a movie, listen to music, contact a friend, etc., they’re able to do so right within moments due to emerging technology that often fits in their pockets. So you may need to explain to them that teeth whitening will work a little differently. They must learn to be patient so as to avoid overuse of whitening products, which can cause intense tooth sensitivity.

Tip #5: Teach Them How to Avoid Yellow Teeth Post-Whitening

Once treatment begins, it’s important that your teens be told how to keep their teeth from going right back to yellow again. Explain to them that they must limit their consumption of teeth stainers, which include soda, coffee, and smoking. And, of course, proper dental care like the 2-2-2 rule — flossing twice a day, along with brushing twice a day for a period of two minutes — must be followed if they wish to keep their teeth in tiptop shape. And as a bonus, you’ll be able to avoid paying for a second whitening treatment.

Everyone should have a great smile. Whitening is an effective way to improve your smile, but you need to ensure proper dental and oral health in order to make the most of it. For further information, or to set up an appointment, call the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. He’ll fix whatever problems you have and put you on a regimen to follow that will ensure your future dental health.

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