Why You Should See a Dentist for Your Teeth Whitening
Why You Should See a Dentist for Your Teeth Whitening
We’d all like a bright smile but teeth tend to take on a yellowish appearance as we get older and they become stained from the dark-colored foods and drinks we enjoy.
The solution is teeth whitening, and there are different ways of doing it – by getting professional treatment from a dentist, using store-bought products, or trying homemade remedies.
Maybe you’ve already tried to whiten your teeth yourself and found the results disappointing. Here, you’ll find out why teeth whitening by a dentist is the best choice.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products
Teeth bleaching kits and teeth whitening toothpastes are available over the counter or online. Neither are as effective as whitening treatment by a dentist.
Store-bought teeth bleaching trays are mass-produced, one-size-fits-all products. This less-than-perfect fit can result in the bleaching agent leaking onto and damaging your gums and tongue.
Whitening toothpastes can appear to whiten teeth slightly after several weeks because they remove superficial stains. However, they can’t lighten stains that go deeper than the tooth surface, and they can’t alter the natural color of your teeth.
Homemade Teeth Whitening Concoctions
You can find many ideas for homemade teeth whitening remedies posted online. They tend to have dubious benefits. Some may be harmless but others could damage your teeth, such as:
- Rinsing your mouth with apple cider vinegar. This can also damage enamel.
- Using a mixture of water and activated charcoal powder. This could irritate your gums unless you’re extremely thorough with rinsing your mouth.
- Brushing your teeth with a paste made from baking soda and strawberries. Acid in the strawberries may erode tooth enamel.
- The safest way to whiten your teeth is by seeing a dentist.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening by a dentist is safer than ill-advised homemade potions or off-the-shelf whitening merchandise. Professional whitening also works faster and produces far superior results, with teeth several shades brighter.
The professional teeth whitening process is carefully supervised to ensure your safety. This allows use of a stronger bleaching agent – usually hydrogen peroxide – to achieve better results. Dentists may also have special ultra-violet (UV) lighting systems to intensify whitening.
Teeth whitening by dentists produces significant results because it works on both the outer, enamel layer of teeth and the underlying dentin. This means it can remove both extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining.
Extrinsic Whitening and Intrinsic Whitening
Extrinsic staining happens because of external factors that directly discolor tooth enamel, including, drinks containing tannins, such as tea, coffee and red wine.
Intrinsic stains occur as part of the aging process and make your teeth look yellow. Dental enamel becomes thinner, exposing more of the dentin layer, which darkens as you get older.
Professional teeth whitening removes stains from enamel (extrinsic whitening) and altersS the color of dentin (intrinsic whitening).
Treatment is customized to individual needs so get you the precise level of whiteness you’re looking for, in the areas you want it most.
Types of Professional Teeth Whitening
There are two types of professional teeth whitening – a procedure at the dental practice or custom whitening trays to use at home.
Both methods work more quickly and produce longer-lasting results than off-the-shelf whitening trays.
Chairside Teeth Whitening
A chairside teeth whitening appointment usually takes 90 minutes or less and the effects last for months or even longer, with teeth many shades whiter.
Your dentist can adjust the concentration and levels of the bleaching agent and will make sure your gums and other parts of your mouth are protected.
In-office whitening is the most expensive teeth whitening option but the most effective and avoids the need for ongoing expenditure on over-the-counter whitening products.
The whitening procedure – monitored throughout to ensure a safe, comfortable experience – entails:
- Dental examination.
- Oral cleaning.
- Application of peroxide whitening agent.
- Post-treatment clean-up.
Professional Teeth Whitening at Home
For at-home professional teeth whitening, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth so that precision-fit custom whitening trays can be made. The close fit will ensure the whitening agent stays in contact with your teeth.
Back home, you fill each tray with a whitening gel provided by your dentist and wear the trays several hours a day. Many people achieve their desired whitening in a week or two, but it might take longer.
Health Benefits of Seeing a Dentist for Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental option because it provides an affordable way to make a huge impact on your appearance. It benefits your dental health, too.
Before teeth whitening treatment, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove bacterial plaque and tartar that accumulate on your teeth and contribute to staining. This professional cleaning not only helps in the teeth whitening process but is also a major part of preventive dentistry to safeguard oral health.
Plaque removal is crucial because this sticky film is a leading cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing can remove most plaque before it does real damage. But plaque that's allowed to sit on teeth combines with minerals in saliva to calcify into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional with special tools.
A further health benefit of professional teeth whitening is that your dentist will check your oral health first. This may identify problems with your teeth or gums that you weren’t aware of. Your dentist can then fix any issues ahead of the whitening process.
Your dentist can also give you expert advice on how to keep your teeth healthy and white –techniques for brushing and flossing, and what types of foods and drinks to cut back on, for example.
Combining Teeth Whitening with Other Cosmetic Dental Treatments
Professional teeth whitening on its own will give you an awesome smile, and you can combine in-office whitening with take-home dental bleaching kits.
You can also integrate teeth whitening with other cosmetic dentistry procedures for a truly dazzling total smile makeover.
Contact us if you’d like to know more about professional teeth whitening and/or other cosmetic dental procedures that can transform your smile.