Teeth Whitening: So Simple, So Beautiful
Coffee - friend and lifeline to the busy or sleep deprived - is not so friendly to our teeth. Unfortunately, coffee, along with several other foods and beverages, such as tea, wine, and cola, can cause stains and discoloration. Although regular trips to the dentist help keep our teeth healthy, stains can still build up over time and affect your confidence in your smile. Fortunately, Dr. Devren Anderson and his staff at Wellness Dental offer in-office and at-home teeth whitening to our patients in Sioux Falls, SD. Contact us today to discuss how we can help brighten your smile.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that uses a peroxide-based bleaching solution to remove stains and discoloration on the outer surface, or enamel, of the tooth. Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are widely available, but the lack of customization and professional supervision means that the results are often disappointing at best. Professional in-office whitenings and customized take-home kits are a much more effective solution.
During your consultation, your dentist will examine your teeth, discuss what may have caused the stains and discoloration, and develop a treatment plan. Intrinsic staining, which occurs on the inner surface of a tooth, does not respond well to teeth whitening and may require concealment using porcelain veneers. This type of staining may be the result of a root canal or certain medications.
Before beginning the treatment, your teeth will be cleaned, removing any built-up plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Next, a protective shield will be placed over your lips and gums to guard them against the bleaching agent. The dentist will then carefully apply the whitening formula directly to the teeth. Next, he will use heat, a special light, or a laser to activate the bleaching agent and whiten your teeth. Dramatic results can be seen after just one appointment.
Take-home Whitening Kits
We also offer a dentist-supervised, at-home teeth whitening kit. At-home kits are a more economical option and typically use a weaker bleaching agent. For this reason, at-home whitening might be recommended for patients with especially sensitive teeth. During an office visit, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to create a custom mouthpiece tray. A custom tray ensures maximum contact between the whitening gel and your teeth, while preventing contact with your gums. Your dentist will provide instructions on how to use the at-home kit, and outline your treatment plan. Some whitening trays are worn for a short period of time during the day, while others are designed for nighttime use. Treatment time varies from several days to two weeks.
Teeth whitening is a safe, low-risk procedure, but it is not recommended for patients:
- Under the age of 16
- Who are pregnant or lactating
- With extremely sensitive teeth or worn enamel
- Who are allergic to peroxide
- With gum disease, cavities, or exposed roots
- With intrinsic stains
- With bruxism or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
It is important to understand that composite fillings, crowns, and other restorations do not respond to bleaching. If you require a restoration and are unhappy with stained teeth, your dentist might recommend whitening your teeth first.
Teeth whitening can give you:
- A bright, white smile
- Increased self-confidence
- A youthful and healthy appearance
Whitening can result in minor side effects such as increased sensitivity for 24 hours. Smoking and routine consumption of coffee, tea, soda, and red wine can diminish the effects of whitening. Your dentist can provide tips on maintaining your bright white smile.
We look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful, white smile. To schedule your appointment, please contact us.