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What is teeth whitening?

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that whitens discolored teeth and creates a brighter, more youthful smile. Teeth whitening involves applying a bleaching solution or gel to remove superficial and deep stains and change the color of the tooth’s surface (enamel).

Teeth whitening is generally safe, but it does have potential complications. The effects of whitening vary by individual. Teeth should also be healthy and in good order prior to whitening. Not everyone is a candidate for teeth whitening. Ask your dentist if you are a candidate for teeth whitening.  

Teeth whitening is only one method used to improve tooth color. Other option include dental bonding and veneers. Discuss all of your options with your dentist to understand which options are right for you.

Medical Reviewers: Nicole Holland DDS, MS Last Review Date: Mar 4, 2013

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Medical References

Cosmetic Dentistry. The American Society for Dental Aesthetics. http://www.asdatoday.com/cosmetic_dentistry.php. Accessed December 19, 2012.
Here comes the bride… American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_38.pdf. Accessed December 19, 2012.
How Do I Maintain My Newly Whitened Smile? Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Cosmetic-Dentistry/Tooth-Whitening/Maintenance/article/How-Do-I-Maintain-My-Newly-Whitened-Smile.cvsp. Accessed December 19, 2012.
How Does Tooth Whitening Work? Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Cosmetic-Dentistry/Tooth-Whitening/Tooth-Whitening-Basics/article/How-Does-Tooth-Whitening-Work.cvsp. Accessed December 19, 2012.
How Safe is Tooth Whitening? Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Cosmetic-Dentistry/Tooth-Whitening/Tooth-Whitening-Basics/article/How-Safe-is-Tooth-Whitening.cvsp. Accessed December 19, 2012.
Tooth Whitening. Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Cosmetic-Dentistry/Tooth-Whitening/Tooth-Whitening-Basics/article/Tooth-Whitening.cvsp. Accessed December 19, 2012.
What is cosmetic dentistry? Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=w&iid=300&aid=1196. Accessed December 19, 2012.
What Products are Available from My Dentist for Home Tooth Whitening? Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Cosmetic-Dentistry/Tooth-Whitening/Tooth-Whitening-Treatment/article/What-Products-are-Available-From-My-Dentist-For-Home-Tooth-Whitening.cvsp. Accessed December 19, 2012.
Whitening. Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/whitening.aspx. Accessed December 19, 2012.

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