Teeth whitening can brighten your smile several shades, erasing years of stains and yellowing in as little as one appointment or in just a few weeks with take-home whitening. Whiter teeth tend to make patients look younger and feel more confident about their smiles. A simple teeth whitening treatment may be all you need to dramatically improve the appearance of your smile.
Your teeth have pores, just like a sponge, which causes them to absorb stains.
First, you’ll discuss your smile goals with your dentist during your consultation. Together, you’ll decide If teeth whitening is the best option for your unique needs. If teeth whitening is right for your situation, your dentist will recommend a treatment plan designed to help you achieve the bright smile you deserve.
After deciding that at-home teeth whitening is right for you, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth using trays and putty or an intraoral scanner. The impressions then will be sent to a dental lab, where your custom trays will be crafted to your unique specifications.
Once your trays have been completed, you’ll return to the office to pick them and the rest of your whitening products up. Your dentist will also provide you with detailed instructions on how to use your whitening trays to brighten your smile in the comfort of your own home.
Take-home whitening allows you to address your stained or discolored smile with a set of reusable custom-fitted trays and professional whitening products, all in the comfort of your own home. Take-home whitening is great for patients who are looking to brighten their smile at their own convenience.
Take-home whitening is also a more gradual and gentle process, which makes it a fantastic option for patients with sensitive teeth, or those who want a more subtle, less obvious change in their smile.
In-office whitening is performed by your dentist, and provides quick, professional results in a single visit. In-office whitening is ideal if you’re looking to dramatically whiten your teeth for a special occasion, like a wedding, or some other event.
During the procedure, your dentist will apply a powerful whitening agent to your teeth, while being careful not to let it come into contact with your gums or cheeks. They will then activate the whitener with a UV light before rinsing it away. The whole process may be repeated to achieve your desired level of whiteness.
An increase in teeth sensitivity after whitening is normal, but should subside within a few days.
When overseen and administered by your dentist, professional teeth whitening should never cause damage to your teeth. By using the proper whitening products and minimizing the amount of time the whitening agent is in contact with your teeth, your dentist can ensure that you don’t over-whiten your smile.
Over-whitening your teeth can result in permanent damage, as the peroxide-based whiteners used can weaken the enamel if they are used improperly, or too frequently. For this reason, it’s best to avoid over-the-counter teeth whitening kits from questionable sources, as they may contain dangerously-high levels of peroxide.
If you don’t want to turn to your dentist for professional teeth whitening services, but still desire a brighter smile, keep an eye out for ADA-approved whitening products like Crest Whitestrips. By sticking to ADA-approved products, you can ensure that you are using a teeth-whitener with relatively low concentrations of peroxide, lowering the risk of enamel damage from over-whitening.
There are two categories of teeth whitening products that work to remove stains without causing irreversible damage to your enamel.
Abrasive whiteners are the first category, and include products like toothpaste that contains baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and other mild abrasives. Baking soda, for example, works like sandpaper, rubbing away plaque and stains from the surface of your teeth. Abrasive whiteners work on minor stains, but they aren’t strong enough to cause damage to your enamel.
However, we recommend that you avoid abrasives like charcoal toothpaste, as the abrasives may be hard enough to damage your teeth. Just like with over-the-counter whitening strips, it’s best to stick to an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste.
Chemical whiteners are the second category of teeth whitening products that actually work, and are available from your dentist and over-the-counter. For the best results with the lowest risk, it’s best to work with your dentist to whiten your teeth. Over-the-counter whitening products can have varying levels of peroxide, making them potential causes of over-whitening and enamel damage.
Ask your dentist about what kind of teeth whitening is best for you and your smile at your next visit.
The leading theory behind whitening treatment causing teeth sensitivity is that the sensitivity is caused by the slight weakening of tooth enamel during the whitening process. This exposes microscopic pores in your teeth called “dentinal microtubules,” which connect the tooth’s exterior enamel to the interior nerve, allowing us to feel sensation in our teeth. When exposed, the microtubules can become more sensitive to temperature and pressure.
The good news is, post-whitening teeth sensitivity is usually a temporary condition lasting only a few days. This is because your body quickly remineralizes the teeth, sealing up the dentinal microtubules, and returning them to their less-sensitive original state.
The best way to keep your teeth white after treatment is to avoid staining foods & drinks.