It’s hard to imagine anything more appealing than a sparkling, white smile.
Yet our teeth rarely stay as white as we’d like them to without a little help. Fortunately, that help is available at the dental office.
Teeth whitening done in a professional dental setting is a safe, effective way to brighten your smile. It’s also perhaps the most economical cosmetic dental procedure. Depending on the whitening method you choose, results can be dramatic: in-office whitening, for example, can lighten teeth three to eight shades in a single hour.
Professionally supervised whitening will work faster, and protect sensitive gums and tooth-root surfaces better, than over-the-counter whitening products. Having an oral exam before you begin any whitening process is an important first step to make sure your tooth discoloration is not the result of a dental condition in need of treatment. Also, please be aware that it can be risky to have whitening solutions applied to your teeth by untrained personnel in shopping malls. If you have any questions about which whitening method would be best for you, talk to us first.
Professional Whitening Methods
Professional whitening makes use of high-concentration bleaching gels that are not available over the counter.
- In-Office Whitening — This technique offers the fastest results with the most powerful whitening solutions available. First, your gums and tooth-root surfaces will be covered with a protective barrier to ensure your safety. A thin plastic device known as a retractor will hold your lips and cheeks away from your teeth as a professional-strength hydrogen peroxide gel is applied. The gel will be left on for about an hour. When it is removed, the results will be obvious immediately.
- Take-Home Whitening — This is another effective way to whiten your teeth, though you will play a greater role in ensuring the best possible results and several weeks may be needed to achieve your desired level of whiteness. First, a mold of your teeth will be taken and then two thin, flexible plastic mouth trays will be custom-made for you — one for the top teeth and one for the bottom. You will fill the trays with whitening gel and then position the trays over your teeth. The trays are left in usually for about an hour at a time.
In Office Or Take Home Teeth Whitening – What’s the difference?
In our office, getting a professional teeth whitening service means your going to be receiving a more powerful whitening agent (peroxide). This higher powered treatment is best done by professionals, like our staff to make sure that it’s applied safely and removed safely as well. We can ensure you get the best positive impact on your teeth whitening treatment all while making sure you are safe through out the process.
The biggest difference in getting your whitening treatment done in the dentist’s chair is the experience of a trained professional who can spot any issues, and know how to adjust the treatment to work properly along the way. We don’t want you to waste money on in home treatments and never be confident as to whether or not they’re working. We’ll let you know exactly what we’re doing and why we think it’s working when you visit us for a teeth whitening treatment.
Stronger peroxide for a bigger impact on teeth whitening
Home kits for teeth whitening contain a very low dose of bleaching agents. This means it’s going to take longer for you to start seeing results from this type of approach. However, when you book an appointment for teeth whitening at our dental offices, you’ll be getting a stronger peroxide agent that can bring out more white in your teeth in a shorter amount of time. We’ve got many years of experience when it comes to teeth whitening and an make sure that the process goes smoothly for you and that we get the best possible results for you.
A major downside to over the counter teeth whitening products such as whitening strips or bleaching trays is the fact that they don’t require a dental examination first. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone who is considering a whitening treatment have a dental examination first. The reason for a pre-teeth whitening examination would be to make sure that your teeth and gums are strong and healthy enough for a whitening treatment. Additionally, if you have any fillings, it is good to be aware of those as some treatments may negatively impact your fillings.
Caring for Your Whitened Smile
There are lots of things you can do to make sure your whitening results last as long as possible, and this will vary from person to person (six months to two years or even longer). First of all, please maintain your usual, conscientious routine of brushing and flossing every day, and keep up with your regular schedule of professional cleanings at the dental office. Avoid foods and beverages that stain, including red wine, tea and coffee. If you smoke, use your newly whitened teeth as an impetus to quit — a good idea in any event! A minor touch-up every so often, either at home or at the dental office, can keep your smile bright and beautiful for years.
Charles Calhoun, DDS