Teeth whitening is a big trend these days. There are many options out there to choose from. Here are some helpful tips. First off , whitening toothpastes and rinses don’t cut it. Most whitening toothpastes are more abrasive and simply remove a little more stain from your teeth. This may result in slightly whiter teeth but not anything too noticeable. To really whiten your teeth you need to have your teeth in contact with some form of whitening solution for an extended period of time. The best and most predictable method is through the use of custom bleaching trays. We make special custom fit trays for your mouth then you apply a small amount of the whitening material to the trays.
The trays are then worn on both your upper and lower teeth for about 30 minutes. This is repeated daily for anywhere from 1-2 weeks and most people will see dramatic results after those days 1-2 weeks.
If you want immediate results another option is in office whitening. For this a stronger whitening solution is applied to the teeth and repeated several times. After 45-60 minutes you will have significantly whiter teeth. This in office whitening is always followed up by custom trays for maintenance.
A few things to be aware of before doing any whitening. First, crowns veneers and white fillings do not whiten so if you have any of these they will not match after you do whitening. If you are planing on having any dental work done it may be advisable to do whitening first.
Any whitening is not permanent. Teeth will turn back to their original shade over time. This is why once you do any whitening you have to maintain it. This may only involve using the custom trays once or twice every 6 months to bring the teeth back to their whiter shade. If you are a heavy coffee , tea or red wine drinker it may be once every week 3 months.
A final word of caution. Any form of a whitening can result in tooth sensitivity. This in most cases is minor and usually subsides in a day or two but it can sometimes be very uncomfortable. This is especially true in people with a history of sensitive teeth. Using a special sensitive toothpaste for a few weeks prior to whitening will often do the trick but sometimes people with exceptionally sensitive teeth just aren’t good candidates for whitening.
Whitening teeth does not always work for everyone. Teeth that have a more yellow or brown shade tend to have very good results. Teeth with a more gray shade sometimes don’t respond as well. For people with really dark stains as a result of things like tetracycline staining may not respond at all to whitening. In these cases using alternate treatments like bonding.
Veneers are done on the front teeth to change their shape, color or general appearance. They are purely cosmetic and do not strengthen your teeth. Veneers can drastically change your smile in just 2 or 3 visits instead of undergoing years of orthodontics. While veneers are an amazing treatment option they are not ideal for every patient.
A crown is done to protect a tooth from further trauma when a filling just won’t cut it. If a cavity is too big or there is not an adequate amount of remaining tooth structure after the decay is excavated then a crown is done. In the past crowns were metal or porcelain attached to metal. These crowns did a good job protecting teeth, but were aesthetically unappealing and also irritating to the gum tissue. Thanks to new technology and materials we can provide crowns that have no metal in them. These new crowns are stronger, more aesthetically pleasing and healthier for the gum tissue. They also require less healthy tooth structure to be removed during the crown process.