Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished you had whiter teeth? The good thing is there are many options between what you can buy at home and what can be done professionally to help you get to your dream smile.
The first thing to note about tooth whitening is that any existing dental work will not whiten. Additionally, any areas of decay will continue to look brown or black and will only cause you to have additional pain and sensitivity, regardless of the type of whitening you pursue. Before beginning a whitening routine, it is important to have a discussion with your dentist or hygienist about any existing dental problems and the results you can expect to see. Another benefit of whitening after a cleaning is that our polishers take away much of the surface stain of your teeth, allowing you to have a better, brighter final result in less time.
Once you have determined that you are a candidate for tooth whitening, you have a few options:
Professional whitening with custom fabricated trays and a take home gel
- This option is the most expensive upfront, but has the best results, is completely customizable to what works for you, and lasts the longest. If you take care of your trays, they will last for many years. You have the option of a daytime whitening gel that is worn for 30 minutes or one that is designed to be worn all night.
- The precise fit of your custom bleaching tray prevents any stray whitening gel from leaking out and causing gum irritation.
- This treatment takes 3 appointments – the first for a consult/shade check/impressions, the second to pick up your custom made trays, and the third to evaluate your whitening results (if you so choose).
- The trays can be used also to hold desensitizing or fluoride gel in case of whitening-related sensitivity. You can alternate wearing whitening solution and desensitizing medication during your treatment.
- Whitening maintenance can be done at your convenience, and refill tubes of gel are available inexpensively at the dental office.
- For more information on this treatment, please click here.
Professional in-office whitening
- This is generally completed in one or more 1 hour sessions in the dental office. Due to the high concentration of whitening solution used, it has the highest potential for intense postoperative sensitivity.
- These can be purchased in the dental office and have the same active ingredients as the previous two methods. Less expensive than custom trays, this is a good way to get started on a whitening regimen to determine if whitening is right for you.
- Pre-filled trays are worn 20-30 min/day, with additional trays available to purchase for maintenance.
OTC whitening strips/pens
- These have a lower concentration of whitening solution and require more maintenance and a longer period of time to see results.
- These are generally not recommended due to the possibility of chemical burns to tissue in cases of improper usage.
Once you have selected a tooth whitening method, the most critical step in maintaining that whiter, brighter smile is great home hygiene. An electric toothbrush will do wonders for your smile as it takes the guesswork out of getting your teeth as clean as possible. The new Oral B 5000 actually connects via BlueTooth to your phone to track your brushing, time you, and tell you where to brush next. Additionally, it has a pressure sensor to tell you if you are brushing too aggressively as well as multiple heads/settings for complete customization.
For more information on whitening, please refer to our Educational Videos page.