Every year, more than 300 million people in the US use some type of tooth-whitening product, and the numbers increase annually. It’s not surprising that tooth whitening is an in-demand service – stains and discoloration of the teeth can happen easily. Even some healthy foods like berries can cause tooth staining! So can coffee, cigarettes, wine, sodas, infections, tooth trauma, and even some medications. Aging, genetics, and health issues may also contribute.But not all whitening products will produce the same results. Here’s what you need to know about tooth whitening:
What Kind of Teeth Whitening Products Work the Best?
You can walk into most big box stores or drug stores and find a large selection of tooth whitening products, from toothpaste to kits that come with strips or trays. Some people do see results from these, but they don’t provide a high enough level of whitening for everyone. Additionally, they may cause irritation for some consumers as they can be difficult to use correctly.
The best option for resolving tooth stains and discoloration is to see your dentist for in-office tooth whitening services.
How Do Professional Teeth Whitening Services Work?
All whitening solutions use either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is a strong chemical that can burn skin or tissue like your gums in concentrated amounts. Unfortunately, it’s hard to isolate the teeth and protect the gums at home, and we all know someone who doesn’t follow directions on store-bought products. For these reasons, over-the-counter products meant for consumer use at home employ a very diluted peroxide mixture. Even so, it can still cause irritation for some people if it gets on the gums in significant amounts.
In a dentist’s office like Great Care Family Dentistry, we have the tools to do your whitening treatment differently. We can isolate the teeth using a dental dam, which allows us to apply a strong, concentrated peroxide solution to your teeth without the risk of irritation or burns. Additionally, we monitor your progress and we may use a light or laser to speed up the chemical reaction that allows the peroxide to break down stains.
What Are the Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening Services?
Aside from using a stronger whitening formula, there are several other advantages of having your teeth professionally whitened in your dentist’s office:
Pre-Treating the Teeth
Before we get started with a whitening treatment, we make sure the teeth are in the best possible shape. First, we note the current shade of your teeth so we can compare your results later and determine how many more visits you will need. In the same way that you might exfoliate before applying a skincare product, we also polish your teeth to clear off any plaque – this is similar to what we do in tooth cleaning. By preparing the surface of the teeth like this, we ensure that the treatment has the best chance of being successful.
Working Around Any Dental Issues
We know your dental history, and will carefully examine your teeth again before beginning your whitening treatment. If there are specific issues like a crown (which doesn’t respond to whitening) or a tooth that is more discolored than others, we will work around these difficulties and find solutions. Sometimes we may apply more whitening product in a particular area as needed, or we may need to use less or no product on a tooth with pronounced enamel damage that could be exacerbated by whitening treatment. We can also advise you if there is a significant dental issue that you should address before having your teeth whitened.
Providing a Safer Whitening Solution
Although at-home whitening kits are designed to be relatively safe, they aren’t always easy to use. In some cases, people may get more peroxide on their gums than intended, causing irritation and pain. For example, whitening strips can slip and end up touching the gums for an extended period of time. An in-office treatment protects the gums and allows you to whiten your teeth safely.
Better, Faster Results
Aside from gum irritation, slipping strips can cause other problems when whitening at home. This may lead to an uneven application of the peroxide solution, and some areas could appear whiter than others. Discoloration may remain even after several at-home treatments.
During an in-office session, we can monitor the treatment and ensure that the whitening solution is applied evenly. If we do notice any areas that are not getting lighter as fast as others, we can apply more solution or direct a laser or light at these areas. Because we use a more concentrated peroxide formula, you will also see your teeth get much whiter much faster than you would with a store-bought kit. Best of all, your results will last longer because we will have removed more of the stain or discoloration.
Are Tooth Whitening Treatments Time Consuming?
Most whitening sessions with our Zoom whitening system take an hour or less, although in a few cases of serious staining, we may need a little longer. Because we can get your teeth lightened in a very efficient manner, it may end up taking less time than daily treatments at home would. If you’re a good candidate for our Glo Science Professional whitening system, you might be able to achieve the results you want in a single 32-minute session. In some situations, we may send you home with whitening trays to continue your progress, and these are also fast and simple to use.
Which Whitening System is Best for Your Needs?
This depends on your individual needs and the current condition of your teeth. We recommend setting an appointment for a whitening consultation so we can identify the best treatment plan for you. We’ll carefully examine your teeth, rule out any dental problems that could interfere with treatment, and determine what your best options are.
Are There Side Effects of Having Your Teeth Whitened?
Most patients do not have any significant side effects, but some may develop tooth sensitivity after a whitening treatment. If we anticipate this problem, we may apply a fluoride treatment after your whitening session or recommend fluoridated toothpaste to use at home. If you have tooth sensitivity or inflamed gums following a session, please let us know, and we will devise a solution.
Is Tooth Whitening Covered by Dental Insurance?
In most cases, no. Unfortunately, dental insurance policies usually classify tooth whitening services as “cosmetic” or “elective” and do not offer coverage. However, our rates are competitive and the results are superior to what you would achieve with an over-the-counter kit. To learn more about pricing and how many sessions you will need, please contact us for an evaluation.
It’s important to keep in mind that some people don’t get the desired results from over-the-counter kits, and as a result, spend more money trying different brands or products than they would have spent on an in-office treatment.
How Can I Get More Information About Gwinnett County Teeth Whitening Services?
Please contact our Great Care Family Dentistry office for more information about tooth whitening. Our helpful staff will answer your questions and schedule an appointment if needed. We look forward to seeing you.