A bright smile can make a great impression, but teeth can become stained and yellowed over time from smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee or wine, and simply getting older. If you’re interested in improving your smile’s look, you may consider teeth whitening. Here’s what you need to know about this popular cosmetic dental procedure.
Experts in San Diego, CA, like Dr. Kami Hoss, understand teeth whitening is a standard cosmetic dental procedure that lightens teeth by removing stains and discoloration. Whitening can be done either in-office by a dentist or at home using over-the-counter products.
In-office whitening is the more expensive option, but it generally produces faster and more dramatic results than home whitening. The procedure is performed by a dentist or trained dental professional and uses a more potent bleaching agent than what’s available over the counter. In-office whitening typically takes one hour or less, and you can see results immediately.
Home teeth whitening kits are available from your dentist or many pharmacies and stores. These kits contain weaker bleaching agents than what’s used in a professional setting and take longer to produce results.
However, they are much less expensive than in-office whitening, and you can do them in your home.
Dr. Kami Hoss says a dentist or cosmetic dentist will apply a bleaching gel to your teeth during a teeth whitening procedure. This gel contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that penetrates the enamel on your teeth and breaks down stains.
Teeth whitening is not a one-time procedure – it will need to be repeated repeatedly to maintain the desired level of whiteness. The frequency you will need to whiten your teeth will depend on your diet and lifestyle. For instance, if you smoke cigars or drink coffee every day, you will need to whiten your teeth more often than someone who doesn’t smoke or drink coffee regularly.
There are two main types of teeth whitening procedures: in-office teeth whitening and at-home teeth whitening. During an in-office course, the dentist will apply the bleaching gel directly to your teeth and use a special light to accelerate the bleaching process. This procedure is usually done in one visit and can make your teeth several shades lighter.
Dr. Kami Hoss says at-home teeth whitening kits are available from most drugstores. These kits typically include either prefilled trays that fit over your teeth or strips that are placed on your teeth for a certain amount of time each day. At-home kits take longer to produce results than in-office procedures, but they are generally less expensive.
Teeth whitening is generally safe as directed by a dentist or cosmetic dentist. However, some people may experience side effects such as tooth sensitivity, gingival irritation, and gum sensitivity. If you experience these side effects, stop using the bleaching gel and consult your dentist.
To reduce your risk of side effects, ensure only to use teeth whitening products approved by the American Dental Association. You should also avoid over-the-counter whitening products with highly high bleaching agents. These products can cause severe damage to your teeth and gums.
The cost of teeth whitening can vary depending on the procedure you choose. In-office systems are usually more expensive than at-home kits but produce faster results. The average price of an in-office approach is $650, while the average cost of at-home equipment is $100.
Avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, tea, or red wine to maintain your teeth whitening results. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. And if you use at-home teeth whitening kits, be sure to follow the directions carefully.
You should also avoid eating or drinking anything that can stain your teeth for at least the first 48 hours after having your teeth whitened. This includes foods and beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, berries, and soy sauce. After the initial 48 hours, you can resume eating and drinking these items, but be sure to brush your teeth afterward.
Dr. Kami Hoss says teeth whitening is safe when done as directed by a dentist or cosmetic dentist. However, some people may experience side effects such as tooth sensitivity, gingival irritation, and gum sensitivity. If you experience these side effects, stop using the bleaching gel and consult your dentist.
You may benefit from a teeth whitening procedure if your teeth are yellow, stained, or discolored. A dentist consultation can help determine if teeth whitening is right for you. They will assess the severity of your staining and decide whether you are a good candidate for teeth whitening.
The frequency of teeth whitening depends on your diet and lifestyle habits. For instance, if you smoke cigars or drink coffee every day, you will need to whiten your teeth more often than someone who doesn’t smoke or drink coffee. A general rule of thumb is to whiten your teeth every six months to one year.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your smile, teeth whitening may be right. Teeth whitening is safe when done as directed by a dentist and can be done in-office or at home using an at-home kit. Talk to your dentist about whether teeth whitening is right for you and how often you should whiten your teeth to maintain results.