Today, cosmetic dentistry is more popular than ever, from whitening and shaping, to
closing spaces and replacing teeth. And dentists have a wide array of tools and
techniques at their disposal for improving the look of your smile.
Before deciding to undergo any cosmetic procedure, it's important to know the benefits and
risks, and what you can expect during the process. Make sure you're clear about what it will
cost, how much experience your dentist has with the procedure, and whether any special
maintenance will be needed afterward.
Over time teeth can become stained or discolored, especially after smoking, taking certain
medications, or consuming foods and beverages such as coffee and tea. Using a chemical
process, your dentist can bleach your teeth in one of two ways. He can do an in-office
procedure, or provide you with a system to use at home.
Your dentist can create a custom mouthpiece that ensures the right amount of whitening
solution reaches your teeth. You may find whitening at home more convenient. But it can
take two to four weeks. In-office whitening can take place in one or more 45- to 60-
Keep in mind, your teeth can become stained again if you continue exposing them to the
same substances that originally stained them. Since whitening products are not meant to
clean teeth, it is still important to continue practicing daily oral hygiene by brushing twice a
day and flossing at least once a day.
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