As a child, you probably took your bright, new white teeth for granted. But, by now your smile may be showing signs of long-term exposure to things that make teeth look dull, yellow or stained. Teeth age and the surface enamel gets worn and stained. Different foods, coffee, cigarettes, wine, even illnesses or those missed dental cleanings – all these things contribute to teeth yellowing and staining over time. Even people who are very careful in caring for their teeth will find their teeth becoming less white over the years.
Don’t be embarrassed about your smile. Today’s teeth whitening processes provide a solution that helps bring back those beautiful white teeth. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about teeth whitening, to help you make a decision about whether or not you should whiten your teeth.
Why should I whiten my teeth?
There are many reasons people decide to whiten their teeth, such as:
- Improve Appearance — a brighter smile can make a big difference in the way we look and more importantly, how we feel about ourselves.
- Correct Discoloration — removing specific stains or spots on one or more teeth.
- Balance Tooth Coloration — some people have widespread staining on either top or bottom teeth and want to balance out the color or shade of whiteness, to give the teeth a more uniform look.
- Increase Self-Confidence — knowing you look your best allows you to feel free to be yourself without being embarrassed or worried about the appearance of your teeth.
- Desired Change — for people who want to renew their look, teeth whitening is cheaper than having a facelift, Botox or other cosmetic procedure.
Are over-the-counter teeth whiteners safe and effective?
Teeth whitening products sold at pharmacies and grocery stores are fairly inexpensive. These typically contain a much less potent whitening gel than used by your dentist. The whitener is usually applied with small plastic strips or painted on with an applicator. This is a convenient alternative to professional whitening, though results may be less or inconsistent whitening. These do-it-yourself whitening kits are not customized to the individual patient and can cause increased sensitivity of teeth and gums burns or irritation.
Are there natural ways to whiten my teeth?
People have used various natural methods to care for their teeth for centuries. This includes teeth whitening. These methods are generally safe, but they are not generally effective enough to make a truly visible difference in the color of your teeth. From strawberries to oil pulling, here are a few of them.
What methods are used for professional teeth whitening?
These three methods are done in the dentist office or supervised by your dentist for best results.
Whitening by Your Dentist — A special bleaching gel using hydrogen peroxide is used by dentists to achieve whiter teeth in under an hour at the dentist’s office. A rubber protective coating is used to protect gums from the enamel whitening solution. The procedure is followed up with bleaching at home, using custom whitening trays (which are included in the cost of the whitening procedure).
Professionally Provided Whitening Kits — Professional-quality whitening supplies are provided by your dentist for you to use at home. Whitening gel is used in custom trays that are inserted into the mouth. These formulations are used for 30 minutes or longer, depending on your dentist’s assessment of your teeth. This is a safe whitening method, if you follow instructions and do not leave trays in too long. This convenient at-home method produces excellent results.
On-The-Go Whitening — Your dentist can provide a whitening kit with a tray made of material that readily conforms to your teeth (instead of a custom-made tray). This process provides coverage from molar to molar, ensuring that the whitening gel covers more of the posterior teeth.
How long does the teeth whitening process take?
A teeth-whitening session with your dentist usually takes less than an hour. The dentist will have you take home trays to use overnight, to follow-up the in-office procedure. Severe staining may require several sessions in the dental office to complete the whitening process.
Is teeth whitening permanent?
Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution. The regular daily use of our teeth continues breaking down tooth enamel and reducing its whiteness throughout our lifetimes. You are probably not going to stop drinking the dark-colored beverages that promote discoloration, and you cannot stop the aging process that inevitably thins the enamel. Therefore, teeth whitening will need to be repeated from time to time for the effects to continue.
Can teeth whitening damage fillings or bonding?
Teeth whitening is safe for teeth with restorations. Existing bonding, fillings, crowns, veneers and bridges are not damaged by teeth whitening agents or processes. Whitening may, however, make your teeth different colors than your restorations. Just keep in mind that, after you have your teeth whitened, a filling, crown or other restoration will remain the same color that it was previously.
Can teeth-whitening toothpaste be used instead of whitening procedures?
Whitening toothpastes do not contain anything that actually whitens teeth. These toothpastes can help maintain the whitening effects after bleaching, and are recommended for that purpose.
Is teeth whitening bad for teeth?
There is no evidence that whitening harms tooth enamel. Whitening does not make teeth softer or change the tooth surface—if the process is performed properly and cautiously. Of course, anything done in excess can be bad for a person, and teeth whitening is no exception. If you over-use whitening agents to strip your teeth over a long period of time, you may cause damage to your enamel. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions and advice on whitening processes and frequency of application.
If you’re looking for an easy, painless and fast professional teeth whitening procedure, GLO teeth whitening is one method we recommend. The GLO (Guided Light Optics) procedure uses a simple device that combines light and heat to activate the unique GLO tooth whitening gel. GLO provides the level of results that is only possible from a process performed in a dental office. Your office procedure is supplemented with simple home care that continues the whitening processes, giving you significant whitening in just a few days of use.
The GLO Teeth Whitening Process
The first step of the GLO process is a one-time in-office procedure. Heat and light are thoroughly and quickly introduced to the teeth, to remove stains from tobacco, coffee, tea, soda, medications, etc. as well age and genetic effects on the teeth. Then, follow-up at-home whitening materials and instructions are provided to complete the full process. Unlike other teeth whitening methods, the innovative GLO process does not cause any tooth sensitivity. You can expect to leave your dentist’s office after the whitening session with no discomfort. GLO also works better than other whitening procedures, due to its dual-step application process.
How else can I keep my teeth white?
After you get your teeth whitened, upkeep is required to keep them at their new level of whiteness.
- Use whitening toothpaste to help reduce new staining and discoloration.
- Use straws when drinking coffee, tea, dark-colored soda or other beverages, to reduce risk of staining your teeth.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not grind your teeth, as it can cause spotting.
- Have a teeth whitening touch-up every six months.
Dr. Jesus Medina, Jr. DDS, Las Vegas Can Help
Our highly-skilled and caring dental professionals can help you achieve whiter and brighter teeth in just one brief visit—using the state-of-the-art GLO teeth whitening process. For more information about teeth whitening, contact Dr. Jesus Medina, Jr. DDS, by calling (702) 368-3627 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Medina is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Advanced General Dentistry, with a practice in Las Vegas Nevada since 1988. He offers general and family dentistry, with a specialization in cosmetic and restorative dental services.