It’s easy to see why teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure. The process is affordable, quick, and comfortable, with impressive results that can transform an entire smile. If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about your smile’s appearance, whitening could be an ideal option for a straightforward smile upgrade.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Tooth enamel is porous. Over time, the foods we eat, beverages we drink and daily habits we partake in deposit dark particles into enamel’s pores. Some foods, drinks and habits are more prone to staining teeth than others, leading to a dim grin. The natural thinning or tooth enamel over time can also lead to dentin showing through, yellowing your smile’s appearance.
Bleaching gel contains agents like hydrogen peroxide that enter enamel’s pores and break up stains. This removes the yellow/brown stains from the tooth surface and brightens your overall smile. When done correctly, whitening is safe for your teeth and will not cause long term issues.
Whitening results can last for years with appropriate day to day maintenance. Avoid or reduce the following to help maintain your results as long as possible:
Smoking or other tobacco use
You can also use a straw for dark beverages to help prevent the liquid from washing over your enamel
Is Whitening Right for My Teeth?
The cause of your tooth stains determines whether whitening is the appropriate procedure. If stains have built up in your enamel, whitening will be an ideal option. If your stains are due to thin enamel, exposed tooth roots, or other tooth damage, or were formed during tooth development, you should explore bonding, veneers or crowns as an alternate whitening (and strengthening) option.
If you have sensitive teeth, don’t write off whitening as painful – there are options for desensitizing during the process. Contact us to learn more about what might be right for you.
Types of Tooth Whitening
Professional whitening – In-office whitening is the simplest, fastest way to ensure excellent results and receive professional guidance. We offer the Zoom! whitening system. The procedure utilizes a whitening gel paired with a low intensity light. This light helps catalyze the gel and quickly, safely bleach your teeth. Treatment takes about an hour and results in a smile that is 6-10 shades lighter. Professional whitening is faster than home whitening, and ideal for patients whitening on a deadline who have a big event on the horizon, or who would rather not have to whiten on their own.
Home whitening – Home whitening is ideal for patients hoping to whiten on their own, and comfortable with gradual results. We will take impressions of your teeth and create custom whitening trays. You will then use those trays with a whitening gel we provide. You’ll whiten for a prescribed period of time over several days. The results won’t be as intense or quick to arrive as with professional whitening, but you won’t need to visit the office during the process.
How White Should My Teeth Be?
The typical rule is that your smile should not be whiter than the whites of your eyes. If you’re ever unsure about your whitening process, don’t hesitate to contact us to get answers to your questions.