Teeth whitening is an affordable and simple procedure for creating a brighter and more vibrant smile. Treatment is non-invasive and can take years off your appearance immediately. It’s no surprise that this is currently the most commonly requested cosmetic dentistry procedure in the U.S.
Why Choose Teeth Whitening?
As you age, it’s normal for your tooth enamel to accumulate stains. You may not even notice it is happening at first, but the effects become obvious over time. This discoloration tends to occur more rapidly for patients who regularly consume products like:
- Coffee or tea
- Red wine
- Dark colored fruit juices and sodas
- Cigarettes or smokeless tobacco
Yellow and brown stains can make your teeth appear dirty – even when you brush and floss faithfully. Whitening toothpastes may help reduce the appearance of surface staining. However, many patients prefer to get faster and more dramatic results by jumpstarting their smile whitening process with at-home or in-office treatment. This procedure allows you to smile with confidence, knowing that your teeth look as clean and fresh as they feel.
Teeth Whitening Procedure Overview
All popular smile whitening products work in basically the same way. They use a whitening agent (usually some form of hydrogen peroxide gel) to remove substances that have accumulated on enamel over time. The peroxide gel is chemically unstable and readily breaks down into more stable components. This chemical process destroys the particles that cause staining on your teeth. As the stains are broken down, your enamel is restored to its natural white or pale ivory color.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Patients who want brilliant white teeth in a very short time often choose in-office whitening for same day results. The procedure takes about an hour. During this time, you can simply sit back and relax. This treatment uses a special lamp to speed up the activity of peroxide gel and make it more effective. Many patients see a six-to-eight shade improvement after this procedure. Your gums and lips are protected from the gel during treatment to reduce discomfort and irritation. This smile whitening treatment is a great option if you have a special event coming up and want to show your best and brightest smile.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
This whitening procedure works well as a follow up to keep your teeth at their whitest after in-office treatment. You receive a custom fitted mold of your teeth and a supply of professional-strength peroxide gel. Simply coat the upper and lower trays with gel each day and wear them for the recommended period of time. These convenient at-home whitening regimens usually take a few weeks to show maximum results. You can repeat the treatment as needed to maintain or improve your teeth whitening over time. Custom trays are comfortable to wear and ensure that the gel actually stays in contact with your enamel during treatment.
Tip: You can make the gel last longer by only treating the front surfaces of your teeth – the side that people see when you smile.
More Information about Teeth Whitening
Smile whitening is designed for adults with good oral hygiene who want a more youthful looking smile. It works best for patients who have stained enamel, as opposed to discoloration from worn enamel that is allowing the darker dentin layer beneath to show through. It will not whiten porcelain or resin tooth restorations. This procedure may not be suitable for patients who have visible veneers, crowns, or tooth colored fillings in their front teeth. Some patients tend to experience tooth sensitivity for a while after tooth whitening. This is usually mild and resolves soon after treatment. If you have experienced tooth sensitivity after a smile whitening procedure in the past, be sure to ask us about ways to reduce this side effect.