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The term “tooth whitening” is often attached to several warnings about enamel loss and other dental horrors. However, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve a brighter, whiter smile as long as you utilize dentist-approved methods. Your dentist will recommend either a whitening toothpaste or a bleaching agent that contains peroxide.

Whitening toothpaste works solely on the surface of the teeth, removing light stains and making teeth appear whiter. It doesn’t change the natural color of the teeth, nor can it remove deeper stains. Although most whitening toothpastes are designed to remove the yellow look of teeth with minimal damage to the enamel, you should only use toothpaste that bears the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. Whitening toothpaste typically takes four to six weeks to yield results.

Bleaching agents yield results in half the time because they contain hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in whitening teeth. The chemical presence of hydrogen peroxide often causes people to fear for their enamel. In truth, bleaching agents are quite gentle on teeth when the peroxide concentration is well-balanced. ADA-approved products typically contain 10 percent peroxide concentration, while dentist-administered products range between 25 and 40 percent.

Regardless of the treatment, mild discomfort, such as tooth sensitivity, is a common side effect that disappears when treatment ceases. Anything more severe is often the result of ill-applied product. It’s never a good idea to purchase a bleaching agent that hasn’t been approved by the ADA or a similar organization.

If you’re considering tooth whitening treatment, consult with Thomas Bell. Call 708.469.6006 or visit Thomas Bell, DDS in La Grange, Illinois to find a safe treatment that best fits your needs.