Teeth stains are inevitable due to aging, and our consumption of a variety of foods and drinks (spicy food, berries, tea, wine, soda,etc.). However, advanced teeth whitening technology has enabled dentists to whiten teeth without adversely affecting the tooth structure.
The best way to begin any teeth whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to your dentist or hygienist about the differences between in office professional whitening and various at home whitening systems. Our office offers multiple whitening options to fit our patients needs, and each patient has different needs. We would also like to discuss with you various ways to prevent future staining.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office whitening is the most efficient means of whitening. There are a number of different types used, but the process is very similar for these methods; you can have your teeth whitened in one session and achieve significant results. This procedure is performed in our dental office. During the visit, your dental professional will apply the whitening gel and, depending on the system being used, may shine a light source directly onto the teeth. The entire office visit generally takes about 90 minutes and has immediate results. When you choose this option, we will also give you take home trays so you can “touch-up” at home as needed.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
In tray whitening, an impression is taken of your teeth and a custom tray is fabricated to precisely deliver the bleaching material to your teeth. A supply of whitening gel is given to the patient and he/she wears the tray for 30-90 minutes a day, or while sleeping. This is normally done over a 7-14 day time period. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals help whiten stained teeth. Unlike strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth and may contain ingredients intended to provide maximum effectiveness and comfort. As with all bleaching techniques some tooth sensitivity may occur during the process. This process is the most often used because it can produce great results and you can continue to use the trays in the future to “touch-up.”
Teeth Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The bleaching agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips into place to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary. You can buys these over the counter or we can provide you with professional strength strips that can only be bought in a dental office. These strips may get you a few shades lighter, but often do not provide dramatic results. They are are typically best for people with minor staining.
There a numerous OTC products that claim to whiten your teeth. These do not contain actual “bleaching” materials, but instead abrasives. These abrasives work only (tobacco product, and some drinks) to remove surface stains and do nothing to actual lighten the tooth color. If you only surface staining this may be a good option for you, but abrasives can also affect enamel if use routinely for long periods of time.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment, or visit www.teethwhitening.com for additional information about teeth whitening.