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Find a whiter smile at the dentist's
Updated: 3/20/2008 2:00:15 PM
 

There are many dental procedures out on the market today that offer in-office and at-home teeth whitening methods, but a healthy oral hygiene regimen should always be followed as a prerequisite before whitening teeth.

This is according to consumer adviser to the American Dental Association (ADA) Matthew Messina, who said that "any tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease and root or gum recession" should be resolved before thinking about investing in whitening procedures.

According to the ADA, whiteners may not take care of all types of discoloration, with yellowish-colored teeth usually bleaching well but grayish-colored teeth less likely to bleach.

If the dentist has given the go-ahead for a whitening procedure, patients can choose from chairside bleaching, which is done in the office and often use peroxides that release oxygen bubbles to lift out stains and pigments in teeth. Lasers have also been used as a whitening procedure depending on what is offered at the office.

People looking to try whitening treatments at home can also purchase dentist-supervised products that involve a custom-fit tray and whitening gel that are often recommended to be worn at night before bed for a set amount of time.

For those who have serious tooth decay or stains that may not come out with bleaching, bonding or veneers can be an alternative that offers a permanent fix. Bonding can repair small chips in the teeth or closing of gaps within teeth for a more uniform appearance, while veneers can take the place of whole teeth and be designed to match the shade and size of surrounding teeth.

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