Teeth whitening is the number one most popular cosmetic dental treatment in the U.S. and is a non-invasive procedure that improves the color of your teeth.
Teeth whitening is considered extremely safe. Over the counter and take-home whitening kits contain very low doses of whitening agents that are safe to be used by non-professionals, although we do advise that you only use over-the-counter kits that have been endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA). You should also ensure that take-home trays are provided by licensed, professional dentists.
If you are choosing to have your treatment done in-office, then you should ensure that you select a qualified dentist who is experienced in teeth whitening procedures.
If you choose to have your teeth whitened, you can expect to see the improvement or total removal of stains primarily caused by:
– Tobacco use
– The consumption of certain staining foods and beverages including coffee, red wine and dark or strongly colored fruits and vegetables
– Aging. As we get older our teeth may take on a yellow, grey, green or brown hue.
Unfortunately, some stains are resistant to even the strongest teeth whitening agents. These include:
– Teeth that have suffered trauma that has caused the dentin inside the tooth to darken
– Teeth affected by fluorosis
– Teeth with inorganic stains
– Teeth that are discolored from any form of internal damage
Are there any groups of people who are not suitable candidates for teeth whitening?
There are some patients who may not be suitable candidates for teeth whitening.
– Patients who have teeth that have become transparent as part of the aging process.
– Patients who have very extensive or intractable staining, as bleaching is unlikely to solve these problems.
– Patients who are sensitive to peroxide.
– Patients who have ultra-sensitive teeth or gums, which may be irritated by the chemicals used in the whitening process.
– Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough research has been done on the effect of whitening agents on unborn or nursing babies.
If you are in any doubt, speak to your doctor, who will be able to advise you of your suitability for teeth-whitening.
Unfortunately, the results of teeth whitening can vary dramatically, and are largely affected by your age, lifestyle and genetics. Over-the- counter and take-home whitening kits do not produce a result as strong or as long-lasting as in-office treatments, however, depending on the type of teeth whitening you choose, you can still expect your teeth to lighten by as few as two and as many as twelve shades.
After your initial consultation, you can expect in-office teeth whitening to take between one and two hours to complete. The exact time will depend on the extent of staining to your teeth, and the amount of exposure to the cleaning chemicals that is needed.
If the desired result is still not reached, your doctor may recommend either a take-home tray of additional treatment, or follow up procedures in the office.
However, the majority of patients can see epic results instantly. If you opt for over-the- counter or take-home whitening kits, you can expect to spend at least two weeks using your equipment overnight.
Teeth whitening requires the use of chemicals in the whitening agent, and sometimes these chemicals can cause irritation or tooth sensitivity. If you experience any pain or discomfort during any form of teeth whitening treatment it is advisable to stop immediately and ask a doctor for advice.
There are a large variety of options when it comes to whitening your teeth. These range from over the counter solutions which can cost as little as $10, up to in-office professionally handled treatment which can cost as much as $1000.
Please check out our page on the cost of teeth whitening for more information.