Whitening and Cosmetic Dentistry
There are many options available to improve the appearance of your smile! The first step is to have a full check-up so we can assess your concerns, and a thorough cleaning to remove surface stains.
Whitening is one option. The two main types of teeth whitening are “take-home” or “in-office” procedures.
“Take Home” Whitening
After the consultation appointment, impressions are taken of your teeth to make customized trays that fit snugly around each tooth. At the next appointment, the trays are tried in your mouth and adjusted if required. Your dentist will go through some instructions and answer any questions.
Most people wear the trays with the whitening gel inside every night and see results in about 2 weeks. If you find the trays uncomfortable to wear overnight, you can wear it for 4-6 hours any time, eg after dinner until bedtime.
At Brighter Smile, we include a “Take Home” kit with our “In Office” Whitening, for longer-term maintenance. After the consultation appointment, impressions are taken of your teeth to make the customized trays.
At the second appointment, the teeth are isolated with a special gum barrier, desensitized and whitening gel applied. The gel is activated with a Sapphire light for two 15 minute sessions. The results can be seen immediately, but to stabilize the effect we do suggest wearing the nightly trays for a week after.
What are the side effects?
Whitening is a very safe procedure that does not damage the teeth. The main possible risks are gum irritation and sensitivity, and both are reversible after about a week. Fillings and crowns do not whiten, and some types of discoloration do not respond to whitening, so it is important to discuss with your dentist about what results to expect.
What about the kits I see at the supermarkets/chemists?
There is a variety of whitening products on the market, and not all use effective ingredients. However, the biggest disadvantage of the off-the-shelf kits is that they are not designed to fit around your individual teeth, so the material does not sit evenly on the surface. There can be an increased risk of gum irritation where the material leaks.
What if my teeth get very sensitive?
Make sure you use a soft toothbrush and sensitive toothpaste and use a desensitizing ToothMousse every other night in the tray. It may just take a little longer to get the final result.
How long does it last?
Everybody is different, and it depends on your diet as well. Avoiding staining foods like curry, tomato-based sauces, red wine, tea/coffee and smoking will help. Generally, a top-up take-home whitening kit is required every 6-12 months.
Brushing and flossing are everyday ways to keep your teeth bright, white and healthy.
Teeth Whitening Safety Tips
Dazzling smiles seem to be within everyone’s reach, thanks to the booming teeth-whitening business. From over-the-counter strips to treatments in a dentist’s office, you have a lot of options for brightening up stained or darkened teeth.
Side effects aren’t common when you use at-home products as directed, but they can happen. Before you start a do-it-yourself whitening routine, though, learn how to keep your smile safe.
See Your Dentist First
Get a professional cleaning and mouth exam, even if you decide to whiten your teeth at home. You might only need a thorough cleaning to restore your smile’s sparkle.
Your dentist will also look for cavities and check the health of your gums during the exam. Treating any problems before you whiten is safer for your mouth.
Ask your dentist about which over-the-counter system to use and how much lightening you can expect. Teeth do darken with age, and the amount of color change varies from person to person.
At-home whiteners have peroxides, typically carbamide peroxide, in amounts ranging from 10% to 20%.
Choose a product with a peroxide level somewhere in the middle of that range. If the product doesn’t bother your mouth but doesn’t provide the lightening effect you want, you can choose a higher level. If you have any questions, your dentist can help you find the whitener that best fits your needs.
Don’t leave the strips or gels on longer than advised — you might wind up with sore gums and set yourself up for other problems.
After you whiten, avoid soda, sports drinks, or other acidic beverages for a couple of hours to protect your teeth.
When Not to Whiten
To be on the safe side, pregnant women or nursing mothers should postpone teeth whitening.
Porcelain or composite dental crowns and bondings won’t lighten up. So if you change the color of the teeth around them, you might wind up with an uneven smile or need to replace old fillings and crowns.
Protect Sensitive Teeth
Your teeth may become mildly sensitive after you whiten, but it’s usually short term. It might be less of an issue if your teeth and gums are in good shape. If it bothers you, stop the treatment and talk to your dentist.
Gel-filled trays, which you wear over your teeth like a mouth guard, can also bother your gums if they don’t fit well. It’s a good idea to stop using the product if you start having this problem.