A Glossary of Teeth Whitening System Terms and Definitions – Bright and Clear
Teeth whitening is a huge industry these days – a lot bigger than you’d think. Are white teeth that important? Apparently so. After all, that’s the first thing about you that people notice when you meet them. And don’t you want to make a good first impression? Of course you do! So do you need a teeth whitening system? If so, you may find that shopping for one is confusing. There are words used that you may not understand. So, to help you out, we’ve assembled this glossary of teeth whitening terms and definitions. It’ll identify, in simple language, the things you need to know when you’re choosing a teeth whitening system, whether it be a professional treatment, or a simple drugstore product. So pay attention, and get ready to smile.
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD)
The AACD is the world’s largest organization of cosmetic dental professionals, dedicated to returning the brightest whitest smiles to people all over America.
- American Dental Association (ADA)
The ADA is a professional organization for dentists that regulates and administers the dental-medical code. Check all teeth whitening systems to see if they carry the “ADA approved” label.
- At-home teeth whitening
An at-home teeth whitening system consists of a kit that supplies you with a moldable bleaching tray, which you either form to your teeth yourself, or send a mold to a professional lab, who’ll form your tray and mail it back to you. You then put whitening gel in the tray and fit it around your teeth. This system will completely whiten your teeth with 10-30 hours of bleaching. Many of these teeth whitening systems can be found online.
- Boil & Bite bleaching trays
Boil & Bite bleaching trays, also known as moldable bleaching trays, are part of the at-home teeth whitening system. You dip them in boiling water for a few minutes; then, after letting them cool a bit, you fit them to the shape of your teeth. When they’ve hardened, you fill them with whitening gel and “wear” them for a period of time, thus carrying out the bleaching process that whitens your teeth.
- Carbamide peroxide
Carbamide peroxide is a chemical compound used in teeth whitening gels. It comes in strengths of 10%-22%, with 16% being the most common. It’s the active ingredient in the whitening gel, and works by the process of oxidation, meaning it breaks down and destroys particles and deposits that can cause staining in the teeth. It’s not harmful to the tooth enamel.
- Chromogenic agents
Chromogenic agents are the things dentists list as those that discolor or stain your teeth. They include such things as medication (especially tetracycline), coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco (smoking or chewing). Teeth whitening systems are designed to reverse the effects of chromogenic agents.
- Cosmetic dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work that’s intended to improve the appearance of your teeth and, subsequently, your smile. Examples are crowns or caps, bridges and bonding.
- Extrinsic staining
Extrinsic staining is discoloration of the outside of a tooth, which can be removed with a teeth whitening system.
Fluoride is good for dental health but, ironically, in high doses, can also cause discoloration of teeth, a condition known as Fluorosis. It’s a natural mineral found in such foods as tea, fish (if eaten with the bones) and processed foods. It’s also added to municipal water supplies to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride toothpastes are also very popular.
Gingivitis is a gum disease caused by buildup of plaque or tarter, resulting in inflammation and bleeding of the gums.
- Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent used in some teeth whitening systems. It has the same purpose as carbamide peroxide, and works in a similar fashion.
- Immediate custom trays
Immediate custom trays are bleaching trays manufactured by Ultra-White. They’re used just the same as boil and bite bleaching trays, but they’re not quite as good a fit, since they’re not custom-molded. They’re also a bit harder, so aren’t as comfortable as boil and bite trays.
- Laser teeth whitening
Laser teeth whitening is done at a dentist’s office. It consists of coating your teeth with a peroxide-based solution, then shining a laser on the solution to activate it. As with most in-office teeth whitening treatments, laser teeth whitening is very effective in a short period of time.
- Moldable bleaching trays
Moldable bleaching trays are part of an at-home teeth whitening system. They’re molded to the shape of your teeth, either by a professional lab, or by yourself. After they’re molded, you use them to hold a whitening gel against your teeth which, over a period of time, bleaches them to their original natural whiteness.
A smile is a facial expression that’s made by turning up the corners of the mouth, usually exposing the teeth. It usually signifies pleasure or enjoyment. It’s the first impression people have of you, and is practiced by those who are confident that their teeth will shine when they smile. If you’re afraid to smile because your teeth aren’t exactly white, then you need to get one of the many teeth whitening systems that’s available on the market today. It’ll restore your teeth’s natural whiteness and have you smiling again in no time.
There are many types of toothbrushes. They’re basically made up of a handle, with bristles attached at one end, that you use to brush your teeth. Some toothbrushes are electric. Some are battery-charged. Some battery-charged ones are rechargeable. Some are designed for children. Some are designed for adults. Some are soft. Some are medium. Some are hard. Some are sonic. As you can see, there’s a toothbrush specifically designed to meet your teeth whitening needs, no matter what they are.
Toothpaste is a preparation that’s applied to a toothbrush to give clean and healthy teeth. Toothpastes these days usually contain an abrasive, a cleaner, flavoring, an anti-infectant, plus an ingredient to hold it all together.
- Whitening gel
Whitening gel comes in several forms. Dentists use it in their professional teeth whitening treatments, usually in the form of a solution containing hydrogen peroxide. At-home teeth whitening systems use it in the form of a solution containing carbamide peroxide. You can also buy whitening gels at the drugstore that you just apply to your teeth. An example of a drugstore-type whitening gel is Colgate Simply White.
Whitestrips were created by Crest, the toothpaste maker. Crest White Strips that stick to your teeth and, with regular use, restore them to their natural whiteness. There are regular whitestrips, or nighttime whitestrips and, now, dentist-strength whitestrips – stronger than the original and available only from dentists.
Are you smiling? We hope so. And, again, if you want to, but aren’t confident in your smile, then check out all the teeth whitening systems. Remember how important that smile is. Do you want to join the millions of people who are smiling with assurance? Do you want to be able to look yourself in the mirror, smile, and feel that joy in your heart that only comes from knowing that you’re happy with who you are and how you look? Teeth whitening is very popular these days – no reason for you to be left out.
So go online, research all the teeth whitening systems and products, and choose the one that’ll have the most positive effect on your smile. And before you know it, you’ll have that confidence back that you had as a kid – pure and innocent, with no fear and no doubts. You’ll be able to just look someone – anyone – in the eye and just smile!
About The Author
Gareth Marples is a successful freelance writer providing valuable tips and advice for consumers purchasing toothpaste & teeth whitening systems as well as teeth bleaching kits and even vitamins for hair growth. His numerous articles offer moneysaving tips and valuable insight on typically confusing topics.
This "Glossary of Teeth Whitening Terms & Definitions" reprinted with permission.
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