-Everyone wants a bright smile, but sometimes we hesitate to make an appointment with the dentist. “The reasons people hesitate to get their teeth whitened include concerns about how long it takes and wondering if the process is safe,” says Dr. Douglas Ng, from Nipomo Family Dentistry, “so we’re going to answer your questions.”
What kinds of whitening procedures are there?
Laser whitening is the most commonly practiced in-office treatment. The dentist uses a gentle dental abrasive to break down stains and adds a safe solution to start the bleaching process, then introduces laser light. Sometimes, after a short in-office session, the patient is sent home with specially formulated teeth-whitening trays to use at home.
Porcelain veneers, crowns and bridges are also used for brightening a smile. Veneers are an option for teeth that are too heavily discolored. Crowns or bridges are an option when teeth are too thin to support the veneer.
Several over-the-counter (OTC) methods are reported to deliver satisfactory results.
How long does it take?
In-office whitening procedures can take 60 to 90 minutes.
- Before starting the dentist records the current shade of your teeth and then polishes them with a pumice to remove surface plaque.
- Gauze is used to keep your teeth dry, and cheeks, lips and tongue may be retracted to keep them away from the whitening solution. Gums are protected with a gumline barrier.
- The teeth are coated with a safe bleaching solution consisting of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. A curing light or laser might also be used.
- The solution remains on for 30 to 60 minutes then rinsed off once the desired shade is reached.
“Unless your dentist sends you home with the professional whitening trays,” says the Nipomo dentist, “additional visits may be scheduled until the desired shade is reached.”
How often will I need a whitening treatment?
Most patients are satisfied with one treatment. If teeth are deeply stained from smoking or some prescription medications, more than one treatment might be necessary.
Professional at-home kits are available from the dentist and many patients choose this option for additional whitening treatments.
Is teeth whitening safe for kids?
Teeth-whitening procedures are safe for kids, but first, consult with your dentist. There are many reasons for children’s teeth to seem discolored. Sometimes the discoloration is natural such as new permanent teeth being a different shade than baby teeth. Diet can also influence the brightness of children’s teeth just as it does for adults.
The dentist may recommend home remedies instead of professional whitening, such as brushing with baking soda or eating more fruits and vegetables.
Can I buy an OTC treatment and do it myself?
There are several OTC treatments available such as:
- Brushing with whitening toothpaste.
- Bleaching strips.
- Bleaching pens.
- Bleaching foam.
- Whitening kits.
The OTC treatments might deliver satisfactory results for those with minor discoloration, but the bleaching formulas are not as strong, and this means that some people may not get the desired results.
Even though the bleaching solutions in strips, pens, foam and kits are milder than a dentist uses, there is the possibility of oral irritation from overuse if the directions are not followed. The inside of the mouth, gums, tongue and inner cheeks are sensitive and can be easily irritated, which can lead to infection or other issues.
Whitening toothpaste is formulated for frequent use but it’s still important to follow the directions on the package.
“The best person to answer your questions about OTC treatments is your dentist,” says the Nipomo dentist, “is your dentist.
Everyone deserves a confident, attractive, healthy, and whiter smile. Entrust the professionals at Nipomo Family Dentistry to take care of all of your dental care needs. A full-service dental office, Dr. Douglas Ng and his staff take care of everything from routine cleaning, examinations, fillings and other dental care to advanced care.
Everyone, from children to senior citizens, receives the best care and up-to-date procedures based on state-of-the-art dental science research.
Nipomo Family Dentistry
195 N Thompson Ave Suite #3
Nipomo, CA 93444