teeth whitening

Brighten Your Smile with Teeth Whitening

In Cosmetic Dentistry by Dr. James James III DDS

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Tooth whitening is consistently one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures worldwide. Everyone enjoys having a bright white smile. There are many options to consider for whitening your teeth, but professional bleaching is often the surest way to a brilliant smile.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Generally, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and create a custom fitted tray for your mouth. You will be provided with tubes of gel and work out a personalized treatment plan based on the amount of whitening needed and the timeframe you want it done in. Most people obtain dramatic results by wearing their trays for 30 minutes to 2 hours a day for 6 to 8 weeks. During this time you will periodically check in with your dentist to review your results and troubleshoot any issues.

With professional whitening, most people see rapid, noticeable results that continue to improve throughout treatment. The key to a successful treatment is consistency in wearing your trays.

While professional tooth whitening provides dramatic and long-lasting results, lifestyle factors such drinking dark colored beverages or smoking can lead to new stains. Many people opt to hang on to their bleaching trays and get a new tube of gel each year for a touchup session.

Some dentists opt to provide in-office treatment options using higher concentrations of bleach that require professional supervision. These treatments can cause gum irritation or even chemical burns if applied improperly, and often do not provide substantially faster results than daily trays. For many people, the risk tradeoff is not worth it. You can acheive the same results with safer concentrations of bleach at home.

Over the Counter Bleaching Gels & Strips

Over the counter products often work well. They can often provide a shade or two of difference for teeth that need minor whitening. However, due to their low percentage of bleaching agents, there is a limit to how white these products can get teeth. Additionally, the cost of repeated use can often rival that of a professional whitening. Many people end up spending as much on white strips as they would have on a professional treatment, often with much less noticeable results.

Whitening Mouthwashes & Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes may provide minor help with whitening, but often the bleaching agent is not on the tooth long enough to create a noticeable result. The trays used in professional whitening hold the bleach in place on the teeth and ensure that it has time to work on the enamel.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

Sensitivity is the most common side effect of tooth bleaching. Naturally sensitive teeth often have the strongest reaction. People with very sensitive teeth may need to use a lower percentage bleach or space out treatments more than others. Typically, increased sensitivity is a temporary effect that goes away once treatment is finished.

People who swallow too much of their bleaching gel may experience mild stomach upset. However, this side effect can be avoided by using the proper amount of gel and avoiding ingesting it.

It’s also possible to overbleach your teeth. Overuse of bleaching agents can cause teeth to start looking translucent rather than white. This is uncommon with first-time treatments but can occur when bleaching products are used too often for too long. Regular check-ins with your dentist can help keep an eye on the color of the tooth and prevent taking whitening too far.

Who is not a good candidate for bleaching?

People with veneers or restorative work (crowns, fillings) near the front of the mouth may not be great candidates for bleaching. Whitening products will only lighten natural teeth and will not change the color of a veneer. This can lead to a mismatched look. If you’re considering veneers, it’s often better to undergo bleaching treatments first and then match the veneers to your newly whitened teeth.

Those with sensitive teeth will want to approach professional whitening with the expectation that the treatment may temporarily worsen sensitivity. In rare cases, extremely sensitive patients find the bleaching process too painful to complete.

Hidden Valley Dentistry will work with you to determine the best strategy for bringing your teeth to the perfect shade of white!

Hidden Valley Dentistry is committed to providing excellent dental care to the Roanoke, VA area. Dr. James and Dr. Deyerle have over 50 years of combined dental experience, and our practice has been well-respected throughout the community for decades. Each member of our kind and welcoming staff strives to continue making our community smile even brighter! Schedule a dental appointment with us, and we’ll bring your smile to life.

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