Whitening is an easy way to regain your bright youthful-looking smile. Below we’ve listed a couple ways to achieve the white teeth you’ve been dreaming of as well as the pros and cons to these approaches…
- At-Home Whitening (Tray Whitening with gel)
- Over-the-counter Whitening
If you elect to use the trays to brighten your smile, we will make impressions of both arches of teeth and construct custom trays that will mold only to your teeth. We will provide you with a whitening kit that is tailored to your specific needs. Either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are the active ingredients in these gels. We will show you how to place the gel into the tray, making sure to wipe the excess gel off the gums as this can burn and cause uncomfortable sensations. The trays are then worn for 2 hours during the day or at night while sleeping, depending on the gel that was chosen. Noticeable changes can be seen as soon as two weeks after beginning the process and no damage to the teeth or existing dental work is done. When you have reached your desired shade, only yearly touch-up are necessary to maintain your new bright smile!
Many pharmacies and drug stores sell OTC whitening products. These products lack the strength and efficacy of the professional products. The generically-shaped strips are made to fit most mouths. The issue with this generic design is that the whitening agent gets on the gum tissue and can burn or damage it. Please consult the office for more information regarding this whitening method as we can tell you the limitations and benefits of these products.
Frequently Asked Questions about Whitening
What is whitening?
Whitening is a process by which the color of the teeth are brightened by applying either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel that lightenes staining and discoloration until it is invisible to the eye.
What causes tooth staining and discoloration?
- Pigmented beverages ie. Coffee, tea, colas, red wine
- Taking antibiotic medications as a child (when the teeth are forming)
- Excessive fluoride
- Poor oral hygiene
When should I whiten my teeth?
The best time to whiten the teeth is immediately after a cleaning because all the stain, plaque and calculus (tartar) have been removed from the teeth. The whitening agents will not penetrate through these barriers, and some bacterial colonies can actually inactivate the gel and decrease its effectiveness.
Who benefits from whitening?
Most people can benefit from whitening, but it does have limitations for a select few. We have found that the younger the patient, the more profound effect the whitening agent has over a shorter period of time. For older adults, a longer whitening regimen may be necessary to achieve the desired result. The doctors here at Molina Dentistry can make recommendations at your next oral evaluation if you are interested in whitening.
Is whitening safe?
Clinical studies and research have proven that whitening is completely safe under the supervision of a dentist. In fact, Dr. Molina considers this the safest cosmetic procedure that can be done as it does not alter the original tooth composition in any way. It is not recommended for children under age 13, pregnant women, or those with severe decay issues.
How long does it last?
Whitening lasts the longest in patients that begin to whiten at a younger age. It also has a more lasting effect in those who are nonsmokers and refrain from consuming drinks that stain the teeth. Whitening is “touched-up” on average about once per year for adults but can last much longer than that depending on lifestyle.
Are there side effects?
The main side effect of whitening is sensitivity. Most report little to none, but some experience temporary sensitivity while using these products. This sensitivity is 100% reversible and is normally gone 1-3 days after completing the regimen. Some patients choose to take a day off of using the gel to allow the teeth to be less sensitive before resuming. Basic over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to decrease sensitivity (ie. Tylenol or Ibuprofen). We encourage you to contact us with questions or concerns about whitening.