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Teeth whitening is perfect for people who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone. Since whitening is considered “cosmetic” it is not covered by any insurance
Tray-Based Tooth Whiteners
Tray-based tooth whitening systems, purchased from a dentist, involve filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution — which contains a peroxide-bleaching agent. The tray is worn for a period of time, generally from a couple of hours a day to every day during the night for up to four weeks (depending on the degree of discoloration and desired level of whitening). This type of whitening is the most economical and you have the trays for future if you want to touch up yearly. Extra tubes of solution can be purchased at our office for a nominal fee.
In-office bleaching provides the quickest way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. These products are used in combination with special light. Results are seen in only one, 30- to 60-minute treatment. With in-office bleaching, dramatic results can be seen after the first treatment. This type of whitening is also the most expensive approach.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening
Who should use teeth whitening? Generally, anyone with healthy gums and teeth that are looking to brighten up their smile can benefit from the professional teeth whitening system. It has been shown to be highly effective at removing stains from teeth, including tobacco, coffee, tea, tetracycline, and various other tooth stains. A professional teeth whitening system will not affect
existing dental work.
Does the whitening system work on Dentures, or Veneers? The process was designed to enhance the natural whiteness of the enamel. Existing restorations such as tooth-colored fillings, dentures, crowns, bonding, veneers, and bridges do not lighten. This means that any pre-existing dental work may need to be replaced to match the new tooth shade achieved in the natural teeth, should a bleaching process proceed. Clients typically apply the gel product only to their natural teeth, allowing these treated teeth to lighten up to match a cap, crown, or veneer.
Is tooth whitening bad for your teeth? Studies of teeth whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effect on the hardness or mineral content of a tooth’s enamel surface. Professional teeth whitening does not cause permanent damage to the enamel on your teeth, and is considered harmless by most dental health professionals.
How many shades whiter can I expect my teeth to get? The amount of whitening varies from client to client and cannot be predicted or guaranteed; but in general use, teeth may lighten anywhere from 6 to 12 shades on the whitening shade guide. The results depend greatly on how discolored the teeth were originally. Yellow or brown teeth, surface stains, and uniformly darkened teeth are easiest to whiten. Additional whitening treatments may be needed in order to achieve the desired shade, especially with heavily stained teeth.
How long do the teeth whitening effects last? Teeth whitening is not permanent. People who expose their teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait one year or longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed.
How long does the treatment take? The process takes only 30-minutes, (2 – 15-minute applications) to achieve a whiter and brighter smile. It is broken down into two 15-minute applications to allow for maximum gel concentration and light exposure, without being under the light for too long of a period to cause gum irritation. Individuals with sensitive teeth may reduce the intensity of the bleaching unit by choosing a lower power setting and those with very heavy stains may need additional treatments.
What happens during teeth whitening? When you visit your dental office for professional tooth whitening, your dentist will have you wear a tray during the treatment that will cover your teeth with a specially formulated whitening gel. Also, your dentist may use a type of light to enhance the whitening effects of the gel.
Does the treatment hurt? Teeth whitening may cause sensitivity during or after treatment and slight discomfort in the gums. Both of these side effects are usually temporary and will disappear a few days after treatment. It is important to tell your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms as the dentist will be able to advise how best to cope in the meantime.
How can I make my results last longer? Luckily, there are a number of steps that you can take to help retain your tooth whitening results. First, avoid eating or drinking any items that can stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, soda, berries, and anything tomato-based. If you do choose to eat and drink these items, be sure to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth afterward. Finally, keeping up with twice-daily tooth brushing and biannual dental cleanings can help prevent stains from building up on your teeth.
Why is professional whitening better than other options? The greatest benefit that you’ll gain by seeing a dentist for tooth whitening is speed. Unlike over-the-counter kits, professional whitening uses a stronger formula that can provide you with a noticeably whiter smile in a single treatment. At-home kits that you can pick up at the drugstore often take a week or longer to provide noticeable results.