The Scoop on Whitening

Everyone wants whiter teeth. When asked what the number one thing you would change about your smile, it almost always includes whiter teeth. People who whiten their teeth are often inspired to take better care of their teeth to maintain their new smile. Studies have even shown that whitening your teeth makes people more confident in themselves and to the people around them. To top it off, whitening your teeth can make you look 5-10 years younger because yellowing teeth is a sign of aging.
     The first step in getting a brand new, whiter smile is to start with a professional cleaning! Brushing and flossing everyday has it’s obvious benefits, but even still, calculus (hard deposits) builds up on your teeth in those hard-to-reach places that your hygienist can get off during a cleaning. At that appointment your dentist will usually check for any cavities and want to fill them and do any other work before moving on to the whitening process.

Why Do Teeth Get Darker Anyway?

To understand how whitening your teeth works, knowing why they get stained is a good place to start. Teeth have layers; the hard, outer layer being  enamel. This layer of our teeth is porous allowing for staining agents to get down into the teeth and build up over time causing the teeth to appear darker. Hydrogen peroxide (or carbamide peroxide which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide) breaks up those particles by oxidation and makes the teeth appear whiter again. Whitening is completely harmless to the teeth, though it may make them a little hot/cold sensitive for a couple days.

Choosing Your Whitening System

  • Take Home Bleach (bleach trays)
    • After any work has been completed on your teeth, impressions can be taken of your teeth and custom trays are made
    • Tubes of bleach are available to buy for your trays and range in their potency

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    • The higher the percentage of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, the faster it will work, but may also cause more sensitivity
    • With this system, you can whiten your teeth as much or as little as you want until you get to your desired shade. The process may take a little time, so be patient. Take a before picture so you can compare. Because it can be a gradual change each time, it’s hard to tell how much you really HAVE whitened over time.
  • In-Office Whitening
    • This type of whitening uses a higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide and lasts about 30-60 minutes
    • Depending on the amount of stain you have, you may need multiple sessions still, but stain is removed at a much faster pace
    • Patients stay in the dental office for this procedure

The Bottom Line

Everyone’s teeth can be whitened, but everyone will whiten at a different pace. Both bleach trays and in-office whitening have pros and cons, but both will give you the same results. Bleach trays allow for you to do touch-ups down the road for years to come, but take longer at first to get white. In-office whitening is much faster, but is a one-time thing and is often more expensive than trays.

Decide what works better for you and you can be on your way to your new, pearly whites!
Call today to see what would work best for you! (208) 402-1040