What You Need to Know about Tooth Whitening

June 14, 2019

 

With summer right around the corner, many people start thinking about whitening their teeth. Although there are certain considerations to be made, almost anyone can whiten their teeth! This month we’ll discuss the safety of tooth whitening as well as the options we provide for our patients.

In office whitening using Zoom.

Ultraviolet light is used to activate the whitening gel in a Zoom procedure.

Is it safe to whiten my teeth?

One of the most frequent questions regarding whitening we receive is, “Is it safe?” When used as directed,  both over the counter products and in-office procedures are safe for your teeth. Enamel Damage may occur when these products are overused, but if you’re able to follow directions this isn’t an issue. Whitening of any kind may make the teeth more sensitive (temporarily), especially if you have recession. It’s important to remember that this sensitivity, is not an indicator that anything is wrong. Patients who have severe recession or erosion/wear on the teeth may need to make some modifications or be advised not to whiten. In any case it is important to ask your dentist if you’re a good candidate for whitening. It’s important to note that crowns and fillings will not whiten, they will remain whatever color they were at placement.

Whitening Options

-Toothpaste: This is something we all use daily so it’s easiest place to start. Many whitening pastes contain the same ingredients but others may be more abrasive. We recommend doing a bit of research to determine which option is best for you.

-Strips: Whitening strips have been around for awhile now and are a quick way to lighten teeth in a pinch. They are a bit tricky to use as they don’t always stay in place well. If you need a quick whitening option for an event and can’t make it in to the office, the strips are an easy choice.

-Customized Whitening Trays: We offer complimentary whitening trays to all of our new patients.  We will take a mold of your teeth and make custom trays. We provide the whitening gel with instructions. As long as you maintain appointments and don’t neglect your oral health, we’ll continue to supply the whitening gel.  At your next wellness visit all you need to do is ask your hygienist! Most patients achieve maximum whitening from 2 weeks of daily use. Maintaining your desired shade requires touch ups as needed.

Whitening results may lighten teeth 6 shades.

Before and after tooth whitening.

Don’t Forget Good Homecare!

 As dental providers it’s important that we remind you good homecare is the best way to keep your teeth white naturally. Brushing twice per day with an electric toothbrush and flossing or using a water flosser daily will help prevent plaque and stain buildup that discolors teeth. We also recommend a source of fluoride. Fluoride can help prevent some sensitivity, so we suggest using a high concentration fluoride toothpaste, leading up to whitening.

Tooth whitening strips applied to teeth.

Whiter teeth can be achieved with whitening strips, although they are sometimes difficult to apply.

How Long will the Results Last?

This is one of our most FAQ. Depending on habits and homecare whitening results can vary. If you often consume tinted beverages like coffee, red wine or tea your teeth can stain faster than someone who doesn’t. A couple of tips to try are to rinse with water after consuming these beverages or consume through a straw to prevent the staining liquids from flowing over teeth. The better homecare you have and the less staining beverages you drink the longer you can expect your results to last.

At your next wellness visit we’d love to discuss the best whitening options for you! Everyone’s mouth and habits are different and what works best for you, may not be the best for someone else. Like all of our  treatment planning, we enjoy tailoring our recommendations based on your individual needs.

 

References

 

Mouth Healthy: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/whitening

 

Colgate: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/tooth-whitening

 


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