Can teeth whitening improve my smile?
Did you know…
Your teeth have microscopic pores that cause them to absorb stains like a sponge.
How at-home teeth whitening works
Impressions for Custom Trays
Instructions & Application
Types of whitening treatments
Take-home whitening allows you to address your stained or discolored smile with a set of reusable custom-fitted trays and professional whitening products, all in the comfort of your own home. Take-home whitening is great for patients who are looking to brighten their smile at their own convenience.
Take-home whitening is also a more gradual and gentle process, which makes it a fantastic option for patients with sensitive teeth, or those who want a more subtle, less obvious change in their smile.
In-office whitening is performed by your dentist, and provides quick, professional results in a single visit. In-office whitening is ideal if you’re looking to dramatically whiten your teeth for a special occasion, like a wedding, or some other event.
During the procedure, your dentist will apply a powerful whitening agent to your teeth, while being careful not to let it come into contact with your gums or cheeks. They will then activate the whitener with a UV light before rinsing it away. The whole process may be repeated to achieve your desired level of whiteness.
Did you know…
An increase in teeth sensitivity after whitening is normal, but should subside within a few days.
Have questions about teeth whitening? Find answers here.
Can teeth whitening damage teeth?
When overseen and administered by your dentist, professional teeth whitening should never cause damage to your teeth. By using the proper whitening products and minimizing the amount of time the whitening agent is in contact with your teeth, your dentist can ensure that you don’t over-whiten your smile.
Over-whitening your teeth can result in permanent damage, as the peroxide-based whiteners used can weaken the enamel if they are used improperly, or too frequently. For this reason, it’s best to avoid over-the-counter teeth whitening kits from questionable sources, as they may contain dangerously-high levels of peroxide.
If you don’t want to turn to your dentist for professional teeth whitening services, but still desire a brighter smile, keep an eye out for ADA-approved whitening products like Crest Whitestrips. By sticking to ADA-approved products, you can ensure that you are using a teeth-whitener with relatively low concentrations of peroxide, lowering the risk of enamel damage from over-whitening.
Which teeth whitening products actually work?
There are two categories of teeth whitening products that work to remove stains without causing irreversible damage to your enamel.
Abrasive whiteners are the first category, and include products like toothpaste that contains baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and other mild abrasives. Baking soda, for example, works like sandpaper, rubbing away plaque and stains from the surface of your teeth. Abrasive whiteners work on minor stains, but they aren’t strong enough to cause damage to your enamel.
However, we recommend that you avoid abrasives like charcoal toothpaste, as the abrasives may be hard enough to damage your teeth. Just like with over-the-counter whitening strips, it’s best to stick to an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste.
Chemical whiteners are the second category of teeth whitening products that actually work, and are available from your dentist and over-the-counter. For the best results with the lowest risk, it’s best to work with your dentist to whiten your teeth. Over-the-counter whitening products can have varying levels of peroxide, making them potential causes of over-whitening and enamel damage.
Ask your dentist about what kind of teeth whitening is best for you and your smile at your next visit.
Why does teeth whitening cause sensitivity?
The leading theory behind whitening treatment causing teeth sensitivity is that the sensitivity is caused by the slight weakening of tooth enamel during the whitening process. This exposes microscopic pores in your teeth called “dentinal microtubules,” which connect the tooth’s exterior enamel to the interior nerve, allowing us to feel sensation in our teeth. When exposed, the microtubules can become more sensitive to temperature and pressure.
The good news is, post-whitening teeth sensitivity is usually a temporary condition lasting only a few days. This is because your body quickly remineralizes the teeth, sealing up the dentinal microtubules, and returning them to their less-sensitive original state.
Did you know…
The best way to keep your teeth white after treatment is to avoid staining foods & drinks.