Everything you need to know about whitening your teeth

When we ask our patients if there is anything they would like to change about their smile, the #1 answer we get is that they would like their teeth whiter.

Social media in particular has caused an increased awareness and desire for whiter brighter teeth, and we often hear marketing campaigns that focus on the smile being one of our most important assets. There is no doubt that a beautiful smile improves self-confidence, self-image and physical attractiveness.

However, there are so many different whitening options to choose from, and every system claims it’s the best. It’s no wonder people are confused! There are in-office treatments, professional home treatments and over-the-counter/do-it-yourself treatments.

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The chemical process of whitening is known as oxygenation, where HP is broken down into oxygen free radicals and water. The free radicals adhere to the surface of the stain molecules and break them down. To get the best whitening effect, concentration and contact time must be considered and customized for each type of stain.

This is a common misconception among our patients. No, whitening does not damage your enamel. However, the biggest side effects with whitening are increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Both of these effects are short lasting and typically only happen while you are whitening but may last for a few days afterwards.

One of the downsides of over-the-counter systems is that the trays are not custom fit to your teeth making it more likely that the bleach gel touches your gums and causes pain and irritation.

Whitening is a cosmetic and elective procedure and requires your commitment. Lack of commitment or following instructions will affect your end result. Managing our patient’s whitening expectations has always been difficult because it is hard to predict the final outcome.

We evaluate the following aspects for all of our patients considering whitening:

  • Type of stain on your teeth
  • Starting shade and susceptibility to stains
  • Your oral hygiene, and current oral health status
  • Your teeth whitening history
  • Your diet (Coffee, tea, red wine, berries)
  • Your current dental restorations

Teeth whitening procedures can be expected to last up to 2 years depending on lifestyle habits like diet and oral hygiene. Maintenance schedules for each individual are customized to prolong the whitening effect.

There are 3 primary methods to whiten your teeth:

We hope this has helped to answer any questions you may have regarding tooth whitening!
Should you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us or request an appointment for a consultation.

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