Here at Rogers Family Dental, one of the most common questions we have from patients is about tooth whitening or “bleaching”. In this post, we will address five of the most common questions we get about tooth whitening.
1) Does whitening work? How does it work?
This is a very common question from our patients. There are many procedures or products marketed to make you look your best and not all of them work. We can be confident, though, in the effectiveness of tooth whitening. There has been over 30 years of research done on the products we use for tooth whitening showing they are both safe and very effective. All natural teeth can be whitened. Some teeth can be brought to a lighter shade than others, and some take longer to whiten than others, but whitening will work on all natural teeth. Where it will not work is on existing crowns or composite restorations (tooth-colored fillings), so if you have a lot of old work done on front teeth, it is possible you could have to replace some of it after whitening.
So, how do these products work? Whitening works much like the detergent you use to wash your clothes. It is able to pull stains deeply out of the teeth without harming the enamel, just like your clothes are cleaned without being damaged by detergent.
2) Will whitening hurt my teeth?
This is another very common question. It makes sense that patients would be concerned about not wanting to do damage to their teeth. Over 30 years of scientific research has been performed on whitening products evaluating their safety and studies have confirmed and reconfirmed that these products do not harm teeth. It turns out that the opposite is true; whitening can actually make teeth healthier. Studies have actually shown an increase in the hardness of enamel after whitening and also a decrease in decay risk and gum problems due to the antibacterial nature of the whitening material. There are some products marketed for whitening on TV and in some stores that have NOT been proven safe or even been tested to determine long-term safety, so be sure you are using a tested, proven product. You can be confident that the products Rogers Family Dental uses are 100% proven and safe.
3) How long will the whitening results last?
This question is a bit harder to answer because it is definitely patient-specific. Most of the time, whitening results will last 3-5 years. If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, red wine, or are a smoker, you may see staining return quicker and need to touch up your whitening results more frequently.
4) What is involved in whitening my teeth?
Rogers Family Dental offers two types of whitening: take home tray whitening and in office whitening. Take home tray whitening involves making impressions of your mouth and custom fitting thin plastic “trays” which fit over your teeth. Professional strength Opalescence whitening material is placed in the trays and they are worn overnight. After 1-2 weeks of this, most patients will see a very nice change in thee shade of their teeth. In office whitening uses a stronger version of the whitening material and results are visible within just one hour of in office treatment. Typically, most patients get the equivalent of about a week’s worth of take home whitening results in about one hour of in office whitening.
5) What is the difference between over the counter whitening products and professional whitening at the dental office? Does one work better than another?
Major brand over the counter whitening products like Crest Whitestrips have active ingredients that are similar to what we use professionally, but they are not the same. The big difference between the two is in the results. Professional take-home whitening is done using a “custom tray” which is a clear plastic tray that is custom made to fit over your teeth to make sure the whitening material goes where it should. Because of this, we can use stronger and better materials and get them right where they need to go. This is one reason professional whitening is faster, treats the teeth more evenly, and lasts longer than over the counter whitening.
If you have considered whitening in the past and you are ready to transform your smile with whitening, give Rogers Family Dental a call today!! (423) 638-7491