It's hard to imagine anything more appealing than a sparkling, white smile. Yet our teeth rarely stay as white as we'd like them to without a little help. Fortunately, that help is available at the dental office.
Teeth whitening done in a professional dental setting is a safe, effective way to brighten your smile. It's also perhaps the most economical cosmetic dental procedure. Depending on the whitening method you choose, results can be dramatic: in-office whitening, for example, can lighten teeth three to eight shades in a single hour.
Professionally supervised whitening will work faster, and protect sensitive gums and tooth-root surfaces better, than over-the-counter whitening products. Having an oral exam before you begin any whitening process is an important first step to make sure your tooth discoloration is not the result of a dental condition in need of treatment. Also, please be aware that it can be risky to have whitening solutions applied to your teeth by untrained personnel in shopping malls. If you have any questions about which whitening method would be best for you, talk to us first.
Professional Teeth Whitening Methods
Professional whitening makes use of high-concentration bleaching gels that are not available over the counter.
- In-Office Whitening — This technique offers the fastest results with the most powerful whitening solutions available. First, your gums and tooth-root surfaces will be covered with a protective barrier to ensure your safety. A thin plastic device known as a retractor will hold your lips and cheeks away from your teeth as a professional-strength hydrogen peroxide gel is applied. The gel will be left on for about an hour. When it is removed, the results will be obvious immediately.
- Take-Home Whitening — This is another effective way to whiten your teeth, though you will play a greater role in ensuring the best possible results and several weeks may be needed to achieve your desired level of whiteness. First, a mold of your teeth will be taken and then two thin, flexible plastic mouth trays will be custom-made for you — one for the top teeth and one for the bottom. You will fill the trays with whitening gel and then position the trays over your teeth. The trays are left in usually for about an hour at a time.
What are the benefits of professional teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening kits are available in practically every drug, grocery and discount store in the country. Although these kits can help lighten your teeth, professional whitening offers several important benefits you just won't get with a do-it-yourself kit, such as:
- Impressive Results: It's not unusual to feel a little disappointed after using a store-bought kit, particularly if your smile looks nothing like the photographs on the front of the package. When you choose professional teeth whitening, you can expect your teeth to be three to eight shades whiter after treatment.
- Quick Results: Kits often require you to use the product several times a week for weeks at a time. Professional whitening only takes one one-hour visit to your dentist's office. If you would like your teeth to be a little whiter, you can always return for an additional session or two.
- Reduced Sensitivity: Teeth whitening agents can irritate your sensitive gums and roots and cause pain for several days after you use a whitening product. Before the whitening process begins, your Gainesville dentist applies a protective gel to your gums and roots. He also uses retractors to pull your cheeks and lips away from your teeth, protecting these sensitive tissues from irritation.
- Versatility: Take advantage of professional strength whitening at your dentist's office or at home, if you prefer. If you choose at-home whitening, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth. The impression will be used to create custom-made whitening trays that you'll use whenever it's convenient for you. You'll simply fill the trays with the whitening agent and place them in your mouth.
Caring for Your Whitened Smile
There are lots of things you can do to make sure your whitening results last as long as possible, and this will vary from person to person (six months to two years or even longer). First of all, please maintain your usual, conscientious routine of brushing and flossing every day, and keep up with your regular schedule of professional cleanings at the dental office. Avoid foods and beverages that stain, including red wine, tea and coffee. If you smoke, use your newly whitened teeth as an impetus to quit — a good idea in any event! A minor touch-up every so often, either at home or at the dental office, can keep your smile bright and beautiful for years.
Interested in learning more about the teeth whitening services we offer here at McMullin Dental Care in Monroe, MI?
Call our office today at (734) 241-5115!