When it comes to the best way to whiten teeth, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. There are fast ways, comfortable ways, and effective ways. The fastest is an in-office procedure, which is also the most expensive and least effective long-term. Many people start with an in-office procedure and then continue with a take-home treatment for more lasting results. In-office treatments is usually recommended for people that need their teeth to be white immediately, while take-home methods give you more bang for your buck.
Whitening your teeth can be achieved in a couple of different ways. Firstly, you can use shells that fit over your teeth. These shells contain whitening gel and offer a significant impact for your investment. Alternatively, there are strips preloaded with whitening gel. These strips are applied directly to the teeth and are disposable.
Regarding cost, strips represent the least expensive initial investment. On the other hand, trays can be a lifelong investment. You only need to purchase gel refills as needed to maintain teeth whitening. This is important because frequent consumption of staining foods and beverages, like tea, coffee, red wine, and the effects of smoking, can cause teeth to relapse in whiteness. It's natural for teeth to gradually lose their whiteness, so maintenance is key.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening methods can be somewhat effective, but they generally take at least twice as long to achieve the results that professional treatments can provide, if not longer. While these over-the-counter options can offer some degree of whitening, consistency is crucial for effectiveness.
Even with professional products given to patients for at-home use, it is important to use them on consecutive days. The effectiveness of the whitening process diminishes if used sporadically, such as one or two days followed by a break. The whitening effect accumulates day by day. Therefore, commitment is essential when starting a teeth whitening regimen. Whether using over-the-counter or professional products, it is important to follow through with the full course, which typically lasts 10 to 14 days, to achieve optimal results.
Whitening treatments do not affect dental work such as crowns or white fillings. If you have crowns or white fillings on your front teeth, the natural tooth structure around these fillings and crowns will whiten, but the dental work itself will not change color. Consequently, for some individuals, after undergoing teeth whitening and achieving a brighter smile, any fillings or crowns that were originally matched to a more yellow tooth color may still appear yellow. This contrast can become noticeable if the surrounding natural teeth have been significantly whitened.
The choice of teeth whitening method often depends on personal preferences and sensitivity concerns. In-office whitening offers rapid results, typically achieving significant whitening in just one day. However, this method is known for causing the most sensitivity, particularly for individuals with naturally sensitive teeth. This sensitivity can be intense and may last up to a week, causing discomfort.
Many patients experience discomfort after in-office whitening and seek solutions for this sensitivity. To mitigate this, dental professionals often recommend desensitizing treatments. These can include using whitening trays with a desensitizing gel or using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Despite the quick results of in-office whitening, take-home whitening processes are often preferred. They are generally less expensive and provide more predictable results. Moreover, take-home treatments are considered more effective in achieving a whiter smile with less sensitivity, making them a more comfortable option for many people.
The effectiveness of teeth whitening methods involves several factors, and not all advertised techniques are equally beneficial. For instance, while there are electronic processes and devices, such as lasers emitting a bluish light, that claim to enhance the whitening process, the light itself is mostly a gimmick. The real effectiveness comes from the bleaching material, which works primarily through surface contact with the tooth. The duration of application and the concentration of the bleach are crucial elements in determining the effectiveness of the whitening process.
Some advanced techniques may involve altering the chemical structure of the bleaching agent to make it more active, potentially through electronic devices or lasers. However, these are not typically part of the visible light spectrum, and the visible light (like the blue light) is more for show than practical effect.
Patients can choose to whiten their teeth as often as they like throughout the year. However, it's important to be cautious. Over-whitening, especially for those who already have fairly white teeth, can lead to increased sensitivity and diminishing returns. Generally, two to three whitening sessions per year are adequate for maintaining a bright smile.
The key factors that affect teeth whitening results include the duration of application of the whitening gel, the consistency of its use (preferably on consecutive days), and the difference in effectiveness between professional-grade and over-the-counter whitening products. The most crucial aspects are the concentration of the bleaching agent and the amount of time the gel is in contact with the teeth, used consistently over a period.
To reduce sensitivity after whitening, use sensitivity toothpaste and desensitizing gel in your whitening trays. This helps rehydrate teeth and calm the nerves.
To schedule a teeth whitening appointment, you can contact Integrity Dental at (719) 745-5565. We currently have a white Christmas special with half off all our whitening products during November and December. We also offer free consultations to determine the best whitening process for you.
PROCEDURES AND EFFECTIVENESS
Teeth whitening procedures are used to brighten the appearance of a patient’s smile – sometimes by as many as 5 to 10 shades in a single session. According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening procedures have become some of the most popular and safe aesthetic dental treatments among patients throughout the country, including Pueblo. Professional teeth whitening services can be performed in an office setting or prescribed for take-home use by a patient. In comparison to over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments, professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents that deliver faster and more effective results.
DID YOU KNOW
That the teeth naturally darken as we age? Furthermore, certain foods, beverages, medications and habits can contribute to a darker, yellowed, or stained smile. However, it is possible to erase years of stains in a single professional whitening session and sustain those results for many years with proper maintenance. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, professional whitening is best maintained by a combination of good oral care & and take-home whitening treatments as recommended by your dentist.