Do you wish you had a whiter, brighter smile?
Teeth whitening is one of the easiest and most economical ways to enhance your smile! Although whitening toothpastes help brush away surface stains on your teeth, they do not whiten teeth as well as professional products. Professional whitening formulas activate a bleaching process that reverses discolorations of the tooth enamel to provide whiter, long lasting results. Our office recommends two safe and effective whitening options: Take-Home Opalescence and In-Office Opalescence Boost by Ultradent.
Guidelines for both whitening options
- Your teeth should be clean. To maximize the effectiveness of either whitening option, all plaque and tartar should first be professionally removed from your teeth. If the in-office Boost option is chosen, the teeth should be cleaned at least 24 hours prior to the treatment to help minimize sensitivity.
- Your teeth color will lighten, but not the color of your fillings or crowns. If you have had front teeth treated with fillings or crowns, they may not blend in as well after the whitening process. When your treatment is finished, you may want to have those fillings or crowns replaced so that it will compliment your brighter, more youthful smile. If you are going to have your teeth restored and you want whiter teeth, you will want to whiten your teeth before having any work done so that the fillings or crowns will match your new, whiter shade.
- Some temporary sensitivity is normal. The amount and duration of sensitivity that you will experience is variable, but it always goes away with time. Both the in-office and the take-home products contain ingredients that help reduce sensitivity and protect tooth enamel.
- Whitening can last several years, but it is not permanent. Reasons why teeth become discolored include aging, illness, injury to teeth, some antibiotics, tobacco use, and contact with stain-causing food and drinks over time (e.g., berries, red sauces, coffee, cola, black tea and red wine). If you receive regularly scheduled cleanings, avoid tobacco products, and limit your intake of stain-causing food and drinks, your teeth may stay bright for several years after whitening. You can also periodically touch up your smile by wearing your trays with Opalescence for one day to one week.
Before starting teeth whitening, your oral health is evaluated by one of our dentists. Almost anyone is a candidate for whitening, however, dark yellow or yellow-brown teeth tend to whiten better than gray or bluish-gray teeth. Multi-colored teeth, especially those stained due to antibiotics such as tetracycline, will need consistent, long-term treatment. Both the take-home and in-office Opalescence formulas are chemically activated, so no light or laser is needed for either option. Note: The color of existing fillings, crowns, inlays and onlays cannot be changed by whitening.
The first option is where we make thin, custom-fitted mouth trays for your upper and lower teeth. At home, you apply the Opalescence carbamide peroxide whitening gel formula into the trays, and wear them for short times each day or overnight. Significant results can be seen within a week or less, although the rate of whitening can vary considerably from person to person. This is our most-recommended option because it costs less than the in-office Boost whitening, yet yields equally beautiful results, just taking a little longer.
The second option is the Opalescence Go which is an alternate to over-the-counter whitening products. They are prefilled whitening trays that do not require impressions, models, or lab time. You can simply buy them ready to go. You can pick up a box (10 pairs of trays) the next time you are at the office or swing by to pick one up.
Opalescence Boost is a power whitening treatment performed in our office in about two hours that brightens teeth FASTER than the take-home option. To keep your gum tissues comfortable, the assistant covers them with a protective barrier. Then, the highly concentrated Boost hydrogen peroxide gel formula is applied to the teeth up to three times for 20 minutes each. The advantages of in-office whitening include:
- You recline in a dental chair while our staff performs the treatments.
- Boost whitening gel is several times stronger than the take-home whitening gel.
- This appointment takes much less total time than you would spend whitening your teeth at home to obtain the same results. This jump starts the whitening process.
- While your teeth are being whitened, custom take home trays will be fabricated for you, so that at the end of your appointment, you will leave the office with custom whitening trays which will allow you to continue to whiten at home.
- This option is ideal for someone who wants a whiter smile, but has limited time before a wedding, reunion, or special occasion.
Does teeth whitening cause sensitivity?
Some people have teeth that are sensitive to the whitening process. Your teeth may start to ache during, and have sensitivity and achiness for a few days after your procedure. Any sensitivity is usually short term and will go away over time. If your teeth are sensitive, we can recommend a regimen where you would use prescription strength fluoride prior to and during your whitening treatment.
How long does a teeth whitening treatment last?
Teeth whitening can last up to 2-3 years or as little as 6 months depending on the food and drink you consume and if you smoke. Brushing your teeth twice a day and avoiding foods and drinks that stain can help extend your whitening.
Do whiteners in my toothpaste work the same way?
Whitening toothpastes don’t actually whiten your teeth. They work by removing surface stains rather than actually whitening the teeth at a deeper level. After all, they do not stay in contact with your teeth long enough to whiten at a significant level. There are over-the-counter whitening kits, but because they are at a significantly lower concentration than whitening products dispensed by a dentist, it isn’t likely you will see the same results as options offered by a dentist’s office.