The demand for teeth whitening is higher than ever, in fact, HowStuffWorks reports that Americans spend an estimated 1.7 billion on whitening products and services. Read on as we explain the whitening process as well different whitening methods and products we use at Taylor General and Cosmetic Dentistry.
WHAT CAUSES DISCOLORED TEETH?
Discolored teeth are caused by two sources: extrinsic and intrinsic staining. Extrinsic discoloration is when the surface or external layer of your tooth is stained. This staining can be from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, soda or other sources. Intrinsic staining can be caused by aging, tooth decay, certain medications (tetracycline, doxycycline, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium) and/or trauma or tooth damage.
Whitening can be achieved through products that bleach the tooth and change it’s color, and by removing stains with peroxide to reveal whiter teeth.
HOW DOES THE WHITENING PROCESS WORK?
If you decide to whiten your teeth with us here at the office, the process typically involves an initial consultation, tray fittings and then we will give you high-quality bleach to apply at home. We will make sure that you receive the correct amount of bleach in the perfect concentration for your whitening goals.
We will also provide you with all the information you need to apply it correctly and safely at home as well advising you on how long and how often you should whiten. At subsequent visits, we will monitor your teeth and your whitening progress.
We do not offer in-office laser whitening for one simple reason: there is no data to back up this treatment. Patients who have done this experience no benefit in whitening compared to at home bleaching. Also, laser whitening is more expensive and more painful. My current hygienist actually had to take a Lortab after doing a laser whitening at a demo.
WHITENING PRODUCTS 101
One of the biggest reasons to whiten your teeth with us rather than buying something at the grocery store is the quality of the whitening products we use. We use Ultradent’s whitening system. We love the ingredients they use. There are no fillers or harmful chemicals.
One of Ultradent’s most popular products in called Opalescense. It uses carbimide peroxide, a whitening agent that is particularly good at keeping your teeth white for an extended period of time. Opalescence also contains ingredients (potassium nitrate and fluoride) to help offset the sensitivity that whitening can cause. Many sites and dentists have named Opalescence one of the top whiteners on the market.
Another benefit of using the Ultradent products through our office is that you can tailor the amount of carbimide peroxide in your whitener. Formulations of 10, 15, 20 and 35 percent are available. These concentrations tend to be higher than what you might find in a drugstore product. For instance, Crest Whitestrips contain 14 percent.
One of the most common misconceptions people have is that simply buying a whitening toothpaste can give you a dramatic, long-lasting white smile. While whitening toothpastes can sometimes remove surface stains resulting in whiter teeth, the whitening ingredients in over the counter toothpastes are not as strong as the prescription gels a dentist can give you.
Another pitfall of drugstore whiteners is that they can be misused and overused which can cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel and lasting sensitivity. Bleaching your teeth too aggressively can cause uneven white spots on your teeth or extreme pain if one of the whitening chemicals seeps into a cavity.
*Whitening teeth is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. We also recommend getting a full examination and taking care of any cavities or tooth decay before beginning a whitening regimen.
Let Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry Help You
If you are interested in whitening your teeth, please call our office to set up an appointment. We would absolutely love to help you get your dream smile.