Teeth Whitening: What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth Whitening Las Vegas is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments. It can lighten intrinsic (deep) and extrinsic (superficial) stains on teeth.

Generally, teeth will re-stain quickly after a whitening treatment, even if you avoid bright foods, coffee and red wine. However, with routine brushing and a touch-up whitening session once a year, you can maintain your white smile.

Teeth whitening is the process of lightening the color of teeth to make them look whiter. It is a common procedure and can be done at home or in a dental office. Many different whitening products are available, including whitening strips, whitening toothpaste, and whitening trays. Most of these products contain a type of bleaching agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which removes staining on the surface of the tooth.

Over-the-counter whitening products use lower strength bleaching agents than dentist-supervised at-home treatments, with the most common being 10% to 22% carbamide peroxide and 3% to 15% hydrogen peroxide. The amount of time the product is applied for also varies, with some requiring up to 60 minutes once or twice a day for two to four weeks. Whitening trays and whitening gels that are applied directly to the teeth have a lower duration and often require only 30 to 60 minutes daily.

Aside from the bleaching agent, other ingredients in whitening products may include mild abrasives and other chemicals to remove surface stains. Many whitening products also have LED lights to speed up the whitening process and enhance results.

Before beginning a whitening treatment, it is recommended to visit a dentist or dental hygienist for a checkup. This will help determine the cause of your tooth discoloration, whether it is a result of antibiotics, trauma to the gums or teeth, or dietary habits like drinking coffee and tea. These factors will impact how successful the whitening treatment will be.

During the whitening treatment, a protective barrier is put in place around the gums and cheeks to avoid irritation to these areas. The whitening agent is then applied to the teeth, usually after a light polishing with a pumice tool to remove any plaque buildup. A whitening shade chart is then used to determine the current tooth color and how many shades lighter it will be after the whitening treatment.

After the whitening treatment, it is important to continue to maintain good oral hygiene practices and avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth again. It is also recommended to re-treat your teeth regularly, especially if you are a smoker or drink a lot of coffee or tea.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Teeth Whitening

Over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products are available as a quick fix at the drugstore to brighten your smile. These products work on extrinsic stains that discolor the surface of your teeth from food, drinks (like coffee and tea) and tobacco, poor dental hygiene, and aging. They don’t work on intrinsic stains, which are deep inside the tooth and may require other dental treatment like dental veneers or crowns.

OTC teeth whiteners come in the form of whitening toothpaste, rinses, gels and strips. These products typically contain bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide that remove stains from the enamel of your teeth. They may also contain abrasive particles to scrub away superficial stains and a color-changing agent to lighten your teeth’s shade.

The majority of OTC whitening products take 16 days or more to produce the same results as a whitening procedure done in a dentist’s office. In addition, OTC whitening treatments can cause tooth sensitivity for some patients, which makes them less than ideal to use on an ongoing basis.

When choosing OTC whitening products, read the label to find out what ingredients the product contains and how to use it properly. Most products will have directions on how long to leave the product on your teeth and what not to do with it, such as brushing or rinsing immediately afterward. If you don’t follow the instructions, it could lead to sore gums or even thinning your teeth.

In addition to using whitening products with care, it’s important to avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth. It’s hard to keep your teeth white by regularly consuming darkly colored foods such as berries, wine, coffee and black tea. It’s also best to brush and rinse your teeth immediately after eating or drinking to prevent stains from developing.

If you’re looking for a more effective way to whiten your smile, ask your dentist at O’Kane & Monssen Family Dentistry about professional teeth whitening options. We’ll examine your mouth to ensure you don’t have any oral health issues that might affect the whitening process, and we can provide customized whitening trays and a safe whitening gel that is stronger than anything you’d get over-the-counter.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

The demand for whiter smiles has led to the development of a variety of teeth bleaching products. These include both home-based whitening toothpastes, strips and gels and professional in-office whitening with a higher concentration of bleaching agents.

The office based systems usually contain hydrogen peroxide and are used under a dentist’s supervision. The higher concentration of bleaching agent is intended to achieve results that are more dramatic than those achieved with OTC whitening products. These results may last longer, although the color will eventually fade over time and will need to be repeated.

Before beginning the whitening treatment, the dentist will likely clean your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. This will also help to prevent the irritation that is often associated with the application of whitening gels. Next, a cheek retractor will be placed in the mouth to expose the area that is being treated. A small amount of bleaching gel will then be applied to the teeth and will be allowed to set for a short period of time. The whitening process is usually completed within one 30- to 60-minute visit. The dentist will then evaluate the appearance of the teeth and may recommend additional treatments or a tray delivery system for continued whitening at home.

Many in-office whitening procedures use a light source to activate the whitening gel. This light is typically in the blue spectrum, and it is designed to accelerate the oxidation of hydrogen peroxide molecules on the surface of the tooth. However, a recent systematic review of the evidence did not find any additional benefit to whitening using light-activated whitening systems.

The stains that are most effectively removed by bleaching are those that are on the surface of the teeth and are caused by foods, beverages, or tobacco. Over-use of certain medications and antibiotics may also contribute to the formation of surface stains on teeth. Generally, these stains are not as difficult to eliminate as those that are caused by enamel damage or decay. Consequently, the most effective method of teeth whitening is by visiting your dentist for a professional whitening procedure.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening

If an individual doesn’t have the time for in-office whitening or just wants to save some money, a take-home teeth whitening kit may be an ideal option. Depending on the brand, these kits can include a set of custom trays and a whitening gel for use at home. The trays are snugly fitted to the patient’s mouth, which ensures even contact with all surfaces of each tooth for consistent results. Patients are encouraged to wear the whitening gel for about an hour daily for 10-14 days in a row. Some blends are safe to sleep in, which can be a convenient way for patients to keep their whitening schedule.

In addition to the whitening gel, the kit will usually also include instructions for how to properly apply it. For example, patients should not overfill the trays, which can cause gum irritation during treatment. Additionally, the whitening tray should be rinsed thoroughly after each application to remove any remaining whitening gel and to prevent sensitivity. Lastly, the dentist may recommend that a patient brush with a toothpaste designed to protect enamel and reduce sensitivity after each whitening session.

While whitening at home is very convenient, it can take more time and effort than in-office treatments. However, with a little commitment, the results can be just as dramatic and long-lasting.

Teeth Whitening at home is ideal for those who have a busy lifestyle but want a brighter smile. The whitening results are not as immediate as in-office whitening, but they keep improving over the weeks following treatment and can last for months if the whitening is maintained on a regular basis.

It is important for patients to remember that a whiter smile is not permanent, and the stains will eventually reappear. To maintain the whitening effects, it is crucial to minimize contact with staining substances, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. It is also important to keep up with brushing and flossing, to use a whitening toothpaste, and to schedule regular dental checkups to remove any surface stains. Finally, a touch-up whitening gel can be used periodically to restore the dazzling whiteness of your smile.