How exactly does teeth whitening work?

teeth whitening

Having a bright, white smile is perhaps the number one goal for many patients, but the issue lies in finding the correct teeth whitening solution for their unique oral health. There are two basic methods you can either have a dentist perform in-office whitening treatments or you can administer at-home teeth whitening treatments yourself.

Both options operate on the basic use of a peroxide-based gel. At-home options generally have a lower concentration of peroxide, at about 3 to 10%, while in office systems contain 15 to 43% peroxide. Generally the longer you keep a stronger solution on your teeth the brighter you can expect your teeth to become. But the catch is when you have a higher percentage of peroxide in the whitening solution it needs to be applied for a shorter amount of time to the teeth. Gels that are kept on longer can cause the tooth to dehydrate and increase its sensitivity.

Advantages of getting a dentist to whiten your teeth 

Having a dentist or dental technician perform the teeth whitening procedure will result in seeing dramatic results much faster. The bleach solution that they can use will be much stronger than any at-home kit. A dentist can also use other things like heat and light in combination to intensify the results and speed up the process.

You can expect dramatic results of getting between 3-8 shades brighter however this could require several 30 to 60 minute trips to the dentist but some dentists can complete the procedure in a single two-hour appointment depending on the equipment they are using.

At home, you will need to use tooth whitening strips gels or toothpaste. Each one of these options offers a convenient way for you to bleach your teeth. 

You need to be careful to correctly use the home kits or you can lead to burned or temporary bleached gums.

You could also consider incorporating something like a tray-based tooth bleaching system which may put you back about $150 to $600 to get a custom-fitted one from your dentist. These trays are then filled with a gel that has a bleaching solution in it and then it is placed over the teeth for several hours a day for up to four weeks. You need to make sure that you have the time and willpower to commit to using these trays for them to work and lighten your smile.

How much will teeth whitening cost? 

Generally, a teeth whitening procedure costs between $500 to $1,000. While this may seem like a lot of money especially when compared to at-home solutions the effect stronger the results will last longer.

At-home kits are often much cheaper and can be as low as $3 to $5 for a tooth whitening toothpaste, up to $10 to $55 for tooth whitening strips and gels. Remember these will take a much longer commitment of many weeks to months to see your results. And the result that they will show is often weaker than what an in-office treatment could offer.

You may be able to get some or part of the treatment covered by insurance depending on your coverage. Be sure to check with your insurance company especially if the discoloration is due to a dead nerve or something like a tooth trauma infection or illness. This kind of discoloration will likely need professional help for it to look bright and white again.

Is this teeth whitening procedure a permanent solution? 

While teeth whitening can last a very long time it is not permanent. There are things that you can do though to help maintain the results the first thing you can do is maintain your oral health by brushing flossing and rinsing daily with mouthwash. This will help keep your smile bright and white for a long time. 

You can also avoid acidic and tannin-rich foods like black tea and coffee, white and red wine, sports drinks, soda, and sauces.

Most teeth whitening procedures last a few months to a few years although this number varies from person to person. However, by avoiding these foods, you can increase the chance that your teeth will be kept nice and white for as long as possible.

How safe is teeth whitening? 

There are a lot of different options to choose from to get your teeth whitened and all of them can be done safely. If you’re concerned about getting your teeth whitened and preventing any burns on your gums that a professional in-office treatment will be the best option for you.

There are a few side effects to consider. Bleaching the teeth whether in-home or at the office will make them more sensitive. This can occur after the first or second treatment although it should diminish this time. Your dentist can prescribe treating sensitivity with products that contain compounds like potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride to help minimize sensitivity. You may also experience things like irritated gums that cause gingival irritation. This happens because your gums may come in contact with the peroxide that is used in teeth whitening products. This should go away after your treatments.

Remember that no tooth whitening solution is permanent. Any teeth whitening process will need to be up kept at regular intervals to keep your smile nice and white. 

Be sure to ask your dentist about what to do if you have other dental work like implants, crowns, or dentures.

If you want to get your consultation to see what teeth whitening options might work for you, call La Verne Dental & Implant Center in La Verne, CA by calling (909) 596-1155 today.