Teeth whitening procedures are used to brighten the appearance of a patient’s smile – sometimes by as many as 5 to 10 shades in a single session. According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening procedures have become some of the most popular esthetic dental treatments among patients throughout the country. Professional teeth whitening services can be performed in an office setting or prescribed for take-home use by a patient. In comparison to over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments, professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents that deliver faster and more effective results.
Did you know…
that the teeth naturally darken as we age? Furthermore, certain foods, beverages, medications and habits can contribute to a darker, yellowed, or stained smile. However, it is possible to erase years of stains in a single professional whitening session and sustain those results for many years with proper maintenance. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, professional whitening is best maintained by a combination of good oral care and take-home whitening treatments as recommended by your dentist.
Finding the Best Treatment for You
Schedule a visit with our dentist to learn whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners do not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish teeth will probably bleach well, brownish teeth may bleach less well, and grayish teeth may not bleach well at all. Likewise, whitening may not enhance your smile if you have had tooth-colored fillings or crowns. The whitener will not affect the color of these materials and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you do have other options, such as porcelain veneers.
Tooth Whitening Treatments
- Professional teeth whitening with our doctor
- At-home whitening system
- Whitening toothpaste
When selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance — your assurance that a product has met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening by Dr. Isaza is your best choice when you need immediate whitening results. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and may require more than one office visit. Each visit may take from 60 to 90 minutes.
During chairside bleaching, Dr. Isaza will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent.
At-Home Whitening System
There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by Dr. Isaza or purchased over the counter. They are generally teeth whitening trays (mouthguards), strips, or paint-on products.
- Teeth Whitening Trays
These products contain peroxide(s) which actually bleach the tooth enamel. Carbamide peroxide is the bleaching agent and comes in several different concentrations (10%, 16%, and 22%). Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used twice a day for two weeks, while others are intended for overnight use for one to two weeks. If you obtain the bleaching solution from our office, we can make a custom-fitted mouthguard for you that will fit your teeth precisely. Currently, only dentist-dispensed, home-use, 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal.
- Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The bleaching agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips into place to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
- Paint-On Teeth Whitening
Paint-on teeth whitening allows you to apply a bleaching agent directly to your teeth without an appliance or strip. You simply “paint” the whitener onto the surface of clean, dry teeth and wait about 30 minutes while the paint turns to a dry film. To remove this film, you simply brush your teeth with a toothbrush. Paint-on whitening products require twice-daily applications to be effective. The duration of treatment will vary. An advantage in this process is that you can selectively paint individual teeth.
Teeth whitening can have minor side effects and you should speak with Dr. Isaza if these become bothersome. For example, teeth can become sensitive during the period when you are using the bleaching solution. In most cases, this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. Some people also experience soft tissue irritation, either from a tray that doesn’t fit properly or from solution that may come in contact with the tissues. If you have concerns about such side effects, you should discuss them with Dr. Isaza.
All toothpastes help remove surface stain from your teeth through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not alter the intrinsic color of teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
You may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening if you are experiencing discoloration, but otherwise have healthy teeth and healthy gums. Schedule a consultation with our dentist to find out if teeth whitening could be right for you. Some patients, such as those who are pregnant or sensitive to whitening agents, may not be candidates for professional whitening.
What Should I Expect When I Get My Teeth Whitened?
Teeth whitening consists of a thorough cleaning and polishing of the teeth, with all debris carefully removed. Our dentist will then protect your gums before applying a whitening agent to the surface of your teeth. The product will be activated and left on the teeth for several minutes before being washed off with water. Your results will vary according to the natural shade of your teeth and degree of discoloration, but it is normal for patients to experience a lightening of several shades in a single visit.
What Type of Post-Treatment Care is Required After Having My Teeth Whitened?
It is normal to experience some tooth sensitivity following a professional whitening treatment. You may be instructed to avoid consuming highly pigmented beverages for at least 24 hours to prevent the teeth from becoming stained again. Examples include tea, coffee and wine. Depending on your results and long-term teeth whitening goals, you may also be sent home from your procedure with an at-home whitening kit for later use.