Teeth whitening or bleaching is a simple, safe, non-invasive way to change the colour of your natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Having whiter teeth can be simple to attain, and is the most conservative way to improve your smile. The most popular way is to use a home teeth-whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically for most people. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate your teeth prior to this treatment, to plan the replacement of any old white fillings or crowns so that they match your newly whitened teeth.
Do over the counter whitening methods work? Are they safe?
There is a complete aisle of over-the-counter whitening products out there. For the most part they contain the same solution as the dentist-dispensed products but in a much lower concentration. This means you will likely have to use the product for much longer than you would a dentist-dispensed system.
Other things to consider when assessing the effectiveness of over-the-counter whitening methods is how long it is in contact with the tooth. If the solution is in contact with saliva, it will quickly be washed away. If it’s only in contact with your teeth while brushing, it’s going to take a very long time to see any difference. A tray-based system holds the solution against the tooth preventing the saliva from diluting it.
With the strip type over-the-counter whiteners, remember that the strips are a fixed length, so if you have a broad smile the teeth at the strip may not cover the ‘corners’. Another concern with the strips, especially if teeth aren’t perfectly straight is that if the strip isn’t carefully creased into the ‘dip’ between the teeth you will end up with dark strips between the teeth. The strip may also extend on to the gum tissue, which can lead to sensitivity and temporary discolouration of the gum tissue.
Generally over-the-counter whitening products are safe but using them with out first having a dental consultation could result in issues of sensitivity if cavities or root exposure are present. There are things that can be done in conjunction with whitening to help reduce any sensitivity. As well, it is important to realize that existing fillings and crowns will not change colour when you whiten your natural teeth, so if your filling currently matches your tooth colour and you lighten your teeth, your filling is then going to be obvious and you will be looking at the additional cost of replacing or polishing it.
The most popular way is to use a take-home teeth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically for most people. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to have your teeth evaluated prior to this treatment, to plan replacement of any old white fillings or crowns on your front teeth, so that they match your newly whitened teeth.
Take-home trays are custom-made to fit your teeth. In the comfort of your own home, a hydrogen peroxide whitening gel is placed in the custom tray once or twice a day for 30 minutes. We will demonstrate exactly how to place the gel in your trays. You can watch a tv show and have whiter teeth at the same time! Depending on the color of your teeth and your desired outcome, the average person whitens for 5-10 days.
Teeth Whitening Touch-Ups
Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up is often needed, especially if you drink coffee, tea, wine, or if you smoke. Future touch-ups are an easy one-time 30-minute application and we recommend doing this every 3-6 months, to maintain and preserve your new whiter teeth. Take-home trays can be a very inexpensive way to freshen up your smile for years to come.
We also provide an in-office ZOOM whitening treatment that allows for both ease and efficiency when it comes to your busy lives. Within a short two-hour period, we apply a special highly concentrated light-activated gel that leaves you walking out confident, with whiter teeth within a few hours. We can fabricate custom take-home trays for you to maintain your teeth at home, after completion of this in-office procedure.