Teeth whitening (also known as tooth whitening) is the process of whitening your teeth to the brightest shade that is naturally possible. The goal is to achieve the whitest smile naturally, however it is important to keep in mind that each individual will have a different level of natural tooth whiteness that they can achieve! Teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to achieve your brightest smile!
Am I a candidate for Tooth Whitening?
Essentially, almost everyone is a candidate for tooth whitening! If you have any of the following conditions, you may not be a candidate for teeth whitening:
- Restorations on your front teeth: If you have fillings or porcelain crowns on your front teeth, you may not be a candidate for teeth whitening as the restorations will not change color with the natural teeth.
- Gum Recession: If you have severe gum recession, you may not be a candidate for teeth whitening as the whitening gel may cause severe sensitivity on your teeth.
- Sensitivity: If you have sensitive teeth (cannot eat cold foods such as ice cream or cold water) then you may not be a candidate for teeth whitening as the whitening gel tends to increase sensitivity.
What are the different types of tooth whitening?
There are many different types of tooth whitening, however they can all be categorized into three main groups:
- Drugstore Whitening Kits: Drugstore whitening kits often come as paint, trays or strips that you place on your teeth. They normally range in price from $20-$100 and take a few weeks to complete. The results are fairly good.
- Dental Office Take-Home Whitening: Most dental offices offer take home whitening kits, where an impression of your teeth is taken and special, custom made whitening trays are made for your mouth. Normally 3-5 tubes of whitening are given and it takes 5-10 minutes a day to complete for a total of 2-5 weeks. This whitening kit has great results. To speed up results, trays can be worn twice a day!
- In-Office Whitening: Most dental offices offer in-office whitening, where a concentrated gel is placed on the teeth and activated with a light. This whitening compacts 1-3 weeks worth of whitening into just a few hours. This whitening procedure has great results, however normally a take-home whitening kit is done a week before to prime the teeth and for a week after to maximize results. This whitening typically causes sensitivity ranging from mild to severe that diminishes after 24-48 hours.
How often should I whiten my teeth?
When completing your first whitening kit, it is important to do as much whitening as possible within the first few weeks in order to maximize the whitening. Over time, if you do not maintain, your teeth will eventually return to their normal shade. At Complete Family Dentistry, our team recommends touching up your smile with a tube of whitening at each hygiene appointment (every six months to a year).