Tips for Tooth Whitening

June 14, 2019

It’s almost summer and many of you may be considering tooth whitening. Although there are certain things to think about almost anyone can whiten their teeth. We’ll discuss the different options for tooth whitening as well as answering some of the common questions we receive about whitening.

Is it safe to whiten my teeth?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear about whitening. In office procedures and over the counter whitening products are safe when used as directed. If you overuse these products or neglect to follow directions you may damage your enamel. If you have recession or enamel erosion you may experience sensitivity (temporarily). This sensitivity is not an indicator that anything is wrong. If you have severe recession or erosion/wear on the teeth, you may be advised not to whiten or to whiten with modifications. In any case it is important to ask your dentist if you’re a good candidate for whitening. Before whitening, it’s important to note that crowns and fillings will not whiten, they will remain whatever color they were at placement.

In office whitening using Zoom.

Ultraviolet light is used to activate the whitening gel in a Zoom procedure.

Whitening Options

-Toothpaste: Many people start with a whitening toothpaste because it’s an easy substitution to make. Many whitening pastes contain the same ingredients but others may be more abrasive. We recommend doing your research to determine which option is best for you.

-Strips: Whitening strips have been around for awhile now and are a quick way to lighten teeth in a pinch. They are a bit tricky to use as they don’t always stay in place well. If you need a quick whitening option for an event and can’t make it in to the office, the strips are an easy choice.

-Customized Whitening Trays: We offer whitening trays to all of our new patients.  One of our assistants will take a scan or mold of your teeth and make custom trays. We provide the whitening gel with instructions. As long as you maintain appointments and don’t neglect your oral health, we’ll continue to give you whitening gel. All you have to do is ask at your hygiene visit! The trays take an initial 2 weeks of daily use to achieve maximum whitening. After that you can just touch up as needed.

-In Office Whitening (ZOOM): We offer ZOOM for our in office whitening. This is a product and technique offered by Phillips (makers of Sonicare). The ZOOM whitening is a 90 minute in office appointment. We apply a whitening gel to the teeth that is then activated by a blue UV light. ZOOM is the best option to get your teeth the lightest shade in the fastest amount of time. If you have time to plan before an event, this is the option to choose!

Whitening results may lighten teeth 6 shades.

Before and after tooth whitening.

Don’t Forget Good Homecare!

Good homecare is the simplest way to keep your teeth whiter. To help prevent plaque and stain build up that will discolor teeth, be sure to brush twice per day with an electric toothbrush and floss or use a water flosser daily. We also recommend a source of fluoride. It’s a good idea to use a sensitive or high concentration fluoride toothpaste, leading up to whitening to help prevent sensitivity. You may also choose to add a fluoride rinse to your routine in the weeks before and following your whitening.

How Long will the Results Last?

This is another questions we receive frequently. Your whitening results will depend a lot on your homecare (discussed above) and your habits. If you drink coffee daily, it’s a safe bet that your teeth will stain faster than someone who doesn’t. Also, if you frequently drink red wine or tea, you can expect similar outcomes.Rinsing with water after consuming these beverages or drinking them through a straw will help prevent the staining liquids from flowing over teeth. The better homecare you have and the less staining beverages you drink the longer you can expect your results to last. Don’t count yourselves out though coffee drinkers, ZOOM whitening may work wonders that you’re able to maintain with at home trays a bit more frequently.

Tooth whitening strips applied to teeth.

Whiter teeth can be achieved with whitening strips, although they are sometimes difficult to apply.

We’d love to discuss the best whitening options for you! Everyone’s teeth and habits are different. What works best for you, may not be the best for someone else. Like all of our treatment planning, we enjoy tailoring our recommendations based on your individual needs. Feel free to discuss with your hygienist at your next visit!












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