Peter L. Thompson, DDS
Your Trusted Local Dentist
A teeth whitening procedure or bleaching simply refers to any process that will make the teeth appear whiter. It is considered a non-invasive procedure that is designed to whiten and brighten teeth that are stained, discolored, darkened, or yellowed. First introduced to the public in the 1980’s, the popularity of teeth whitening products and procedures has soared. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, when respondents were asked, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?” The most common response was: whiter and brighter teeth.
How white a tooth appears depends upon how light is reflected and scattered off the enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth. Teeth can look dark or discolored for a variety of reasons, with an imperfect appearance the result of outer surface stains or discoloration from within the tooth. While external tooth stains are typically due to certain foods and tobacco, internal tooth discoloration is mainly the result of hereditary factors, certain medications, tooth decay, restorations, or trauma. Additionally, the aging process can influence the color of a tooth. This is because over time the outer layer of enamel becomes thinner showing more yellowish tones from the underlying layer of dentin.
What are the advantages of a professional teeth whitening procedure performed by a dentist?
Although over the counter teeth whitening systems purchased in stores or online have become popular, there are health concerns and limitations with these products. If the manufacturers protocol is not correctly followed, certain products can damage the teeth and soft tissues in the mouth, and may not deliver the results as promised. Teeth whitening systems contain varying concentration of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which act as the bleaching agents. When sensitive teeth, exposed roots, cavities, broken fillings, cracked teeth, or loose dental work are present, a teeth whitening procedure may be contraindicated. Also, since whitening systems do not have an effect on the color of dental fillings, crowns or bridges the presence of restorations is an important cosmetic consideration in treatment planning.
In general, individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best to teeth whitening procedures. Brown and grayish tinted teeth bleach respond less well and may require significantly longer dentist supervised tooth whitening regimens or alternative cosmetic treatments. Finally, teeth whitening may not be recommended in the presence of sensitive teeth, worn enamel and significant gum disease.
As a rule the healthiest and most effective methods of teeth whitening are the ones managed and supervised by the dentist. An in-office teeth whitening procedure as performed by the dentist is the most reliable and safest way to get the maximum results quickly. In as little as one hour a prescription-strength, in-office whitening procedure can dramatically whiten and brighten the natural teeth by several shades, while the surrounding tissues and any sensitive areas of the teeth are carefully isolated and protected from the bleaching agents.
A home whitening system from the dentist along with custom trays that have been fitted to the teeth is also an excellent option. Custom trays keep the bleaching agent in maximum contact with the teeth and away from the other areas of the mouth. With a take-home teeth whitening system, maximum results are less rapid than an in office procedure and are typically achieved over a longer period of time. A home whitening system can be used by itself or as recommended by the dentist as a follow up to an in office procedure in order to perfect or maintain the results.
While an overwhelming selection of over-the-counter teeth whitening products is readily available for purchase at stores or online, it's imperative to keep in mind that the healthiest and most effective methods of care are those professionally supervised by your dentist. With a teeth whitening procedure provided by our office, we can safely, comfortably, and effectively transform your smile by up to several shades in a short amount of time.
Teeth whitening offers a simple and non-invasive to whiten and brighten your smile. Whitening products contain various strengths of biologically safe hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that act as bleaching agents on stained or discolored dental enamel. By breaking the stains into smaller pieces, these bleaching agents make the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.
Every patient is different, and despite the fact that many people experience no sensitivity or pain with a professional teeth whitening, there are some that do. Although considered a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure, some temporary discomfort during and following the procedure may ensue. It helps to stick to room temperature beverages for a few days following a teeth whitening. You can also take over-the-counter pain medication as you would for a headache. If you have a history of sensitive teeth, we may select a gentler formulation of whitening products or an alternative procedure.
It's essential to keep in mind that every patient has unique needs and specific requirements of care. In general, individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best to teeth whitening. Brown and grayish tinted teeth bleach respond less well and may require significantly longer dentist-supervised tooth whitening regimens or alternative cosmetic treatments. Finally, teeth whitening may not be recommended in the presence of sensitive teeth, worn enamel, and significant gum disease.
For darkly stained teeth, a whitening procedure may not provide the cosmetic results desired. In these cases, we'll talk about alternative options such as porcelain veneers or full-coverage crowns.
Teeth whitening only works on natural teeth. The fact that whiteners do not affect the color of existing dental fillings, veneers, bonding, crowns, or bridges on the front teeth remains an important consideration when choosing the best cosmetic option in care.
As a rule, the healthiest and most effective methods of teeth whitening are the ones managed and supervised by your dentist. You can count on our office to provide the most effective, safest, and satisfying professional-strength options to whiten, brighten, and lighten your smile! Stay away from over-the-counter products, which may be overly abrasive or put the health of your teeth and the surrounding soft tissues at risk. While these products may work when healthy teeth and gums are present, they're often ineffective or problematic when sensitive teeth, exposed roots, cavities, broken fillings, cracked teeth, or loose dental work are the case.
How long your teeth whitening lasts depends on your lifestyle. Your eating, drinking, and smoking habits can have a significant impact on maintaining your result. Of course, the best way to ensure that your smile stays healthy and beautiful is a good daily oral healthcare regimen, along with regular dental checkups and cleanings.
It's essential to keep in mind that as a cosmetic dental procedure, a teeth whitening may not be covered by your insurance plan. We understand the financial considerations involved in care and do our best to help you get the treatment you need without any additional stress or day. We offer several payment options and financing plans to make things easier.
At the office of Peter L. Thompson, DDS, we want every patient to enjoy the benefits of a smile that is as beautiful as it is healthy. In addition to offering a comprehensive range of advanced services to keep your smile in tip-top health, we also provide leading-edge cosmetic solutions to transform less-than-perfect-looking teeth into ones that dazzle.