While the health of your teeth is always our first priority, we also want our patients to be happy with the way their teeth look. Whitening can be a safe and effective way to brighten up a dull or aging smile. We like to share some basic information with patients, however, to help them make sure they aren’t wasting their money or harming their teeth.
Are you interested in dental whitening Vancouver, WA? Visit Creative Smiles and talk to Dr. Carl Futenma about your smile goals. Call us at 360-574-3061 to make an appointment.
Why isn’t my whitening product working?
It’s important to understand that there are two types of stains: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains are on the inside of the tooth, so no amount of over-the-counter whitening treatments will reach them. They can be caused by injury, certain antibiotics, or too much fluoride when your teeth were still developing.
Whitening products are only effective with extrinsic stains, in which environmental factors have left pigment residue inside the matrix structure of your tooth enamel. Coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco, and any foods that can stain clothing are the usual culprits, and the result is an overall yellowing or greying of the teeth.
OTC products are not as powerful as dentist-provided whiteners, and one-size delivery systems do not work as well as customized trays. There may be issues with the quality of the active ingredients, due to the fact that the products may sit on shelves for years or may be exposed to temperature extremes that degrade the chemicals.
If your stains are caused by food and beverage pigments, we can help you eliminate them with prescription strength whitening gel and more effective delivery methods. If you have intrinsic stains, there are other cosmetic treatments that can correct them, such as dental bonding and porcelain veneers.
Is whitening safe?
When used as directed, whitening products are safe for your teeth and gums. If overused, they can damage your tooth enamel by leaching vital minerals away before they are replaced by natural processes.
This is why stronger whiteners can actually be safer than weaker products. If you don’t get the results you want, you may be tempted to keep using the products indefinitely, which isn’t healthy. Use a more effective system, however, and you’ll see results quicker and won’t need to whiten so often.
We don’t provide any whitening treatments that will harm your teeth, as long as you use the products correctly. If you’re going to use an OTC whitener, be safe. Choose a product with the ADA seal and follow the written directions to ensure you don’t harm your teeth.
Are dentists’ products better than OTC products?
All teeth whiteners use what is essentially the same ingredient, hydrogen peroxide. This chemical uses oxygen bubbles to break down pigment stains in your tooth enamel. The same ingredient does not mean, however, that you’ll see the same results from every whitening product.
OTC products tend to use a one-size-fits all delivery method (tray or strips) which don’t always fit your mouth properly. This can lead to the gel being diluted by saliva or migrating outside the tray, which can hurt the gum tissue and make you less likely to wear them long enough to be effective.
With customized whitening trays, we can ensure the gel stays in contact with the teeth properly, so the product can break down stains faster and more efficiently. We use a dental impression to create customized trays that fit your teeth like a glove, ensuring the gel stays in place. Dentists’ products also use a stronger and more chemically stable form of peroxide gel, which means the results will be more predictable.
How do one-day treatments work?
Some dental offices provide one-day whitening treatments. These use high concentrations of peroxide and a special light to deliver a powerful burst of enamel bleaching. Usually the patient will sit under the light for three 15-minute sessions. During this time, the peroxide is activated by the light to work faster in oxidizing and breaking down stains. These treatments can be highly effective, though they do cause tooth sensitivity in some patients. They also cost a good bit more than take-home whitening trays.
Which type of whitening should I choose?
Ultimately the choice is yours. Some OTC products can be quite effective when used correctly, but dentist-provided products will always work faster and more predictably. It really depends on how much money you want to spend and how fast you want to see results. Many patients are happy to invest in the appearance of their smiles, especially if they have a wedding or other special occasion they want to look good for.
Visit Creative Smiles for Dental Whitening Vancouver, WA
Ask Dr. Futenma about dental whitening treatments during your next office visit. We will explain the treatments we offer, and help you understand how to keep your teeth safe. Call us at 360-574-3061 to make an appointment for a dental whitening consultation.