A bright white smile can be one of your best accessories, but it can also be harder for some people to achieve than it is for others. When used as directed, off-the-shelf whitening toothpaste and whitening kits can whiten your teeth one to two shades brighter, but they’re just not enough to tackle deep, stubborn stains accumulated over a lifetime.
Professional teeth whitening services from Bright Now! Dental can give you the sparkling smile you’ve always dreamed of. Whether as in-office treatment or as a prescription take-home kit, professional teeth whitening can brighten your smile up to 10 shades whiter, targeting and removing stains from under the outer layer of enamel.
Professional teeth whitening can help eliminate both surface (extrinsic) and deep (intrinsic) stains caused by:
The color of your teeth is not actually an indicator of their health. Perfectly strong, healthy teeth can still appear yellowed or stained. Whiter, brighter teeth don’t necessarily mean they’re healthier, but they can make you feel more confident and comfortable in your smile.
If you aren’t happy with the color of your teeth, it’s a good idea to have your teeth professionally cleaned before scheduling a whitening appointment. During a professional cleaning, a dental hygienist will remove any tartar that has accumulated on your teeth and gums. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque that makes your teeth appear yellow, so removing it, in many cases, can dramatically improve the brightness of your smile. If you still aren’t happy with the results of the cleaning alone, you can talk to your dentist about teeth whitening.
Because teeth whitening really only addresses the aesthetics of your teeth—not their health or function—it’s considered an elective or cosmetic procedure, so your insurance will probably not cover it. However, for many people, the procedure is well worth the price to remove years of tough stains caused by smoking, aging, and diet.
Most patients who are over the age of 16, in good overall health, and have no serious conditions are considered good candidates for professional whitening. Your dentist will evaluate your health history and assess your current dental health to determine if professional whitening is for you. This can be done during one of your regular exams or at separate consultation.
Your dentist may not recommend teeth whitening if you have:
Sensitive teeth. The chemical agents in professional whitening treatments can exacerbate already-sensitive teeth, making eating, drinking, and brushing even more painful. Your dentist may suggest using a sensitivity toothpaste or receiving fluoride treatments to alleviate your sensitivity before whitening your teeth.
Gum disease. Gum disease creates pockets in between your teeth and gums. If the chemicals from the whitening treatment get into the pockets, you may feel some pain and sensitivity. You may need to treat the gum disease with a deep cleaning, antibiotic rinse, or gum graft surgery to reduce the size of the pockets as well as the side effects of teeth whitening.
Tooth decay. Your dentist will not whiten your teeth if you have any cavities. However, once you have had the cavity filled, you should be able to proceed with whitening treatments.
Restorations. If you have extensive dental restorations such as crowns or bonding, your dentist may advise you against professional whitening treatments. While professional whitening won’t damage the crowns or bonding material, neither will it change the color. If you have your teeth whitened, your restorations will likely be darker than your natural teeth and more obvious.
Stains caused by antibiotic use. Teeth whitening treatments cannot reverse stains from antibiotic use. If you developed blue-gray tooth stains after taking tetracycline, your dentist may recommend veneers or crowns instead of whitening to brighten your teeth.
If you are pregnant or lactating, your dentist may advise you to wait until you aren’t to have your teeth whitened. The effects of tooth whitening on pregnant and lactating women have not been well established, so it may be better to avoid the chemicals for now and wait a little while longer.
Professional teeth whitening can be administered one of two ways—as an in-office procedure or with a take-home kit. Your dentist will determine which is best for you based on the degree of staining you need to be treated, any sensitivity you may have, and how quickly you want results.
An in-office teeth whitening procedure delivers the fastest results and can be performed right in your general dentist’s office in about two hours. The whitening agents used for this level of treatment are stronger than those sold over-the-counter, and so must be applied by a dentist carefully to avoid injury or damage to your gums.
A special guard will first be placed in your mouth to protect your lips and gums from the whitening chemicals. Then, bleaching agents will be applied to your teeth and allowed to sit for about 15 minutes. The dentist will shine a special UV light on your teeth to activate the bleaching agent and speed up the process. Depending on the color of your teeth and type of stains, this may be all you need; otherwise, your dentist may repeat this one or two more times to reach the desired whiteness.
Once the final round of bleaching is complete, the bleaching agent will be rinsed off your teeth and you’ll be ready to leave. While some patients experience some jaw discomfort after keeping their mouth open for so long, you should not feel any pain.
If you are prone to sensitivity, don’t have time for a two-hour treatment, or don’t feel comfortable sitting with your mouth open, your dentist may recommend a take-home option. A mold will be made of your teeth and used to create custom-fitted whitening trays. You’ll be given these trays and a special bleach solution to take home and apply as directed; your teeth will get whiter gradually with each application.
The whitening trays prescribed by your dentist are different from those you can find off-the-shelf. Their custom fit ensures more complete and even coverage of the bleaching agent—which is also stronger than store-bought kinds—while minimizing how much of your gum tissue is exposed to the chemicals.
Both in-office and at-home professional whitening treatments will yield similar results, with many patients enjoying a smile up to 10 shades brighter than before. While serious side effects from professional whitening treatments are very rare, you may notice more teeth or gum sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure in the weeks following. This should subside in time and can be managed with sensitivity toothpaste, temporary dietary changes—like avoiding hot or cold beverages—and over-the-counter pain medication.
While the results of professional teeth whitening are dramatic, they are not permanent, and you may need more whitening treatments again in the future. However, you can help extend the results of your professional teeth whitening for at least a year or longer by:
Bright Now! Dental offers convenient and affordable professional teeth whitening services at all of our convenient retail locations. When you schedule a complimentary consultation, our dentists will evaluate your teeth and your dental health to help determine which whitening service is right for you. Call us today at 1-844-400-7645 or visit us online to schedule your teeth whitening appointment and start smiling more!