Do you want whiter teeth? You should know that teeth-whitening gels used in the dentist's office contain concentrations of bleaching agents that are three to eight times higher than the concentrations of brightening ingredients in over-the-counter whitening gels. Some people achieve satisfactory results from only one professional whitening session.
If you still wish to whiten your teeth at home, ask your dentist about take-home products available at the office. These products are recommended by your dentist because they're proven to be safe when used as directed. To protect your health, learn more about whitening your teeth. Here are four facts to help you make an informed decision about your dental health.
1. Your Dentist Should Examine Your Teeth Before Whitening
Whether you do your own whitening or have your dentist's office handle the procedure, you should have a complete dental exam first. There are several dental conditions that can be worsened by whitening products and procedures.
For example, any cavities and holes in teeth must be filled in or otherwise repaired. Leaking fillings and open cavities may allow the bleaching agents to enter the tooth, which can lead to significant pain.
If gums are receding and there are grooves at the base of teeth, these areas may become sensitive after a whitening treatment. Furthermore, if you've had a root canal, then whitening may cause a higher risk of root resorption. Root resorption is when the root of the tooth dissolves.
Have your doctor clean your teeth conventionally and correct the issues in your mouth before you have any whitening done. You can also ask your dentist about the best products and treatments to use in your case.
2. Whitening Won't Work for Everyone
If your tooth discoloration is due to injury or a drug reaction, whitening won't change the color of your teeth. Your dentist can recommend other treatments to restore the tooth to a normal appearance.
Teeth that have a yellow tone tend to give the most satisfactory results after a whitening regimen. Brown-stained teeth don't respond as well to treatment as yellowish teeth do. Then, blue- or gray-tinged teeth often show no difference in brightness after bleaching.
If you're pregnant or nursing a baby, you should wait until pregnancy and lactation are complete before undergoing gel-whitening procedures — including DIY treatments and those using lights.
3. Whitening Treatments Are Part of Long-Term Restoration
If you're having your entire smile renewed with the placement of implants, crowns or composite bonding, your dentist may want you to have your teeth whitened beyond what a cleaning can do. A professional whitening session will ensure that all of your new dental additions match the shade of the rest of your natural teeth.
After the removal of braces, your doctor may also want to perform an enhanced bleaching session. This procedure may be necessary to remove stains on the teeth where food was trapped behind the braces.
4. Your Dentist Takes Steps to Protect You
Your dentist takes strict precautions when whitening your teeth. Your gums and sensitive dental work are protected with creams or physical barriers. A dental dam may be used with some procedures and conditions. Sessions can last from 15 minutes to an hour, so you won’t be exhausted or overwhelmed by the treatment.
Your dentist advises you about any tingling or sensitivity you can expect and provides emergency contacts in case you have an adverse reaction to the treatment. You also receive an after-care kit to help you manage your new, brighter smile. The kit may include instructions on what to eat and drink for the first few days after the whitening procedure.
You may also receive a touch-up kit to lightly bleach teeth in the future. Whitening is never permanent, especially if you continue to ingest coffee, cola and other stain-producing foods and drinks.
Contact the office of Carlino & Paton, DDS PC today to schedule your next cleaning and discuss your options for a whiter smile.