Summer is here and many of you might be considering tooth whitening. Most of the time whitening is perfectly safe when following directions, although there are certain aspects to consider. We’re going to discuss the different options for tooth whitening as well as answer some commonly asked questions.

Ultraviolet light is used to activate the whitening gel in a Zoom procedure.

Is it safe to whiten my teeth?

This is one of the most common concerns. Both over the counter products as well as in office procedures are safe for the teeth when used as directed. If you overuse any whitening products they may cause damage to the enamel. Whitening of any kind may make the teeth more sensitive (temporarily), especially if you have recession. This sensitivity is not an indicator that anything is wrong, but can be uncomfortable. You may be advised not to whiten if you have severe recession or erosion/wear on the teeth. In some cases you may be able to still whiten but with modifications. In any case it is important to ask your dentist if you’re a good candidate for whitening. It’s important to note that crowns and fillings will not whiten, they will remain whatever color they were at placement.

Whitening Options

-Toothpaste: There are many different whitening toothpastes on the market. This is the first place many people start because it’s an easy addition to your homecare routine. Many whitening pastes contain the same ingredients, but others may be more abrasive. We recommend doing a bit of research to determine which option is best for you.

-Strips: Whitening strips are another quick whitening option that have been around for awhile now. They are a bit tricky to use as they don’t always stay in place well. If you need a quick whitening option for an event and can’t make it in to the office, the strips are an easy choice.

-Customized Whitening Trays: We offer complimentary whitening trays to all of our new patients.  We will take a scan or mold of your teeth and make custom trays. We provide the whitening gel with instructions. As long as you maintain appointments and don’t neglect your oral health, we’ll continue to supply the whitening gel. All you have to do is ask at your hygiene visit! The trays take an initial 2 weeks of daily use to achieve maximum whitening but from there require touch ups as needed.

_In Office Whitening (ZOOM): We offer ZOOM for our in office whitening. This is a product and technique offered by Phillips (makers of Sonicare). The ZOOM whitening is a 90 minute in office appointment. We apply a whitening gel to the teeth that is then activated by a blue UV light. ZOOM is the best option to get your teeth the lightest shade in the fastest amount of time. If you have time to plan before an event, this is the option to choose!

Whiter teeth can be achieved with whitening strips, although they are sometimes difficult to apply.

Don’t Forget Good Homecare!

Brushing twice per day with an electric toothbrush and flossing or using a water flosser daily will help prevent plaque and stain buildup that discolors teeth. We also recommend a source of fluoride. It’s a good idea to use a sensitive or high concentration fluoride toothpaste, leading up to whitening to help prevent sensitivity. You may also choose to use a fluoride rinse twice a day before and after whitening.

How Long will the Results Last?

This is another frequently asked questions. Whitening results are very much dependent on your daily habits and homecare (discussed above). If you’re a daily coffee drinker, it’s a safe bet that your teeth with stain faster than someone who isn’t. Similarly if you frequently drink red wine or tea, you can expect similar outcomes. Rinsing with water after consuming these beverages or using a straw to prevent the staining liquids from flowing over teeth. The better homecare you have and the less staining beverages you drink the longer you can expect your results to last. If you do have any of these habits, you are still able to whiten!  ZOOM whitening may work wonders that you’re able to maintain with at home trays a bit more frequently.

Before and after tooth whitening.

We’d love to discuss the best whitening options for you! Everyone’s mouth and habits are different and what works for someone else may not be the best option for you.  Like all of our treatment planning, we enjoy tailoring our recommendations based on your individual needs. Feel free to discuss with your hygienist at your next visit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Mouth Healthy: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/whitening

Colgate: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/tooth-whitening

 

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