Can you guess which dental treatment is the most popular in our office?
That’s right – teeth whitening. Most people who bleach their teeth are incredibly happy with the results. A bright, white smile makes them happy to show their pearly whites.
If you’re interested in teeth whitening, there are a few things we’d like you to know. The more our patients know about elective dental treatments, the more likely they will be to make the healthiest decision.
The Basics of Bleaching: Nine Things Your Dentist Wants You to Know
Once our patients learn the pros and cons of whitening and decide to go with the safer method of in-office bleaching, we discuss some of the basics with them.
1. All Patients Need an Exam First
Before we start the bleaching process, we have to do a comprehensive examination, including x-rays and a visual exam of the oral cavity. If our patient has tooth decay or gum disease, we get these issues cleared up before we start any cosmetic procedures.
When a patient tries to bleach while they still have decay, the chemicals in the bleaching agent can cause the decay to advance at a faster rate. If the decay is already severe, this acceleration could contribute to the decay spreading to the nerve of the tooth.
2. Bleaching Can Cause Some Sensitivity
The chemicals in any bleaching system, whether in-office or over-the-counter, can cause some tooth sensitivity. Thankfully, bleach manufacturers are adding ingredients to their products, like fluoride and potassium nitrate, which reduce sensitivity.
3. Maintenance Is Required
After a patient has achieved their desired bleach shade, they will need to bleach occasionally after that. Maintenance is faster than initial bleaching, though, and usually only needs to happen every few months or years.
4. Bleaching at Home Only Helps With Light Stains
There are a ton of over-the-counter dental products. From toothpastes to whitening strips, it can seem like this is the way to go. And for some people, this can work. Typically, we find that the patients who see results from store-bought bleaching systems have very little discoloration in the first place.
5. Toothpaste Isn’t a Good Way to Bleach
Unfortunately, whitening toothpastes don’t really work that well. The toothpaste doesn’t stay on the teeth long enough to be effective. Even our in-office, high-concentration bleach needs to remain on the teeth for about forty minutes.
6. Professional In-Office Bleaching Is Better
This really is the best option when it comes to effective teeth whitening. In our office, we use a higher strength peroxide bleaching gel that you can’t get over-the-counter. We always make sure to apply this powerful gel in a safe manner. Over-the-counter bleaching trays, strips, and toothpastes can damage the tender tissues of the mouth. If they aren’t removed from the gum tissue, they can burn, causing inflammation and tenderness.
When we apply the bleach, we have tools that help us apply the right amount of bleach to the tooth. If some of it gets onto the gum tissue, it’s removed immediately and thoroughly.
7. A Major Cause of Discoloration Is From the Foods We Eat & Drink
Certain foods cause staining. The major culprits are coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco, marijuana, and dark berries. To avoid staining, limit or avoid these foods, or make sure to brush right after eating them.
8. Bleaching Will Take Time
Bleaching the teeth too quickly will cause incredible sensitivity. That’s we take the “slow and steady wins the race” approach to bleaching. Even though we can get amazing results with in-office bleaching, it’s likely that the patient will need more than one application.
9. Dental Restorations Don’t Usually Bleach
Fillings, crowns, inlays, and onlays do not bleach. If you have a full mouth cosmetic dentistry plan, you can bleach your teeth first and then we will match the new crowns and fillings to your new color.
Get the Best Results From Our Professional Teeth Whitening Services
When it comes to bleaching, we want to make sure all of our patients get the results they desire. While no bleaching system is perfect, people often get better results from professional bleaching treatments.
Over-the-counter treatments might be less costly in the short term, but they don’t provide the safe, quick, and long-term results that professional treatments provide. In the long run, getting teeth whitening services at our office is an affordable investment that will provide you with beautiful results.
Are you ready to get the beautiful, white smile you’ve always wanted?
Contact us today for more information about teeth whitening, or to schedule an appointment.