Most of us desire brighter, whiter teeth for a happier, more confident smile. With so many different trays, strips, gels, pastes, and rinses available, however, patients often aren’t sure what to use or how to whiten their teeth safely. Also, overuse or misuse of whitening products can lead to its own set of problems such as damaged enamel or gums. Allow Lincoln Smiles to provide an overview of teeth whitening. Then, whether you desire an in-office or at home treatment, be sure to visit us prior to proceeding to be sure whitening is right for you.
How Can I Safely but Effectively Whiten My Teeth?
There are many different ways in which you can safely whiten your teeth. Some of these methods can be carried out at home while others require a trip to our office.
One commonly used in-office whitening procedure involves a custom-made tray that is filled with a stronger peroxide-based bleaching solution than is available with at home kits. The tray is placed firmly over your teeth to provide dramatic results quickly, often in one visit and in under an hour. Another in-office option is to use a special light or laser to activate the whitening gel. Either way, a protective barrier is applied, typically a gel brushed onto your gums or a thin rubber sheet placed over them beforehand, to reduce any potential gum or tooth sensitivity.
Common home whitening tactics include the use of peroxide-based bleaching strips or gels which are placed over the teeth and left on for a specified period of time, sometimes multiple times a day. With some methods, the gel is used to fill a tray, similar to a mouthguard, and also used for a specific amount of time. These options generally produce results gradually over a matter of days or weeks. While not likely to produce as dramatic results as other options, whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses can aid in removing surface stains to improve the teeth’s appearance.
One important thing to note about mouth trays is that the generic, mass-produced trays that come with at-home treatments can rub and irritate your gums. This is especially a problem if your teeth or gums are sensitive to begin. If you don’t think an in-office procedure is right for you, but want whiter teeth, allow us to fit you for a custom tray and provide you with the whitening solution as well as specific instructions for safe, effective use at home.
Is Whitening Right for Me?
It is important to note that teeth whitening is not appropriate for everyone. For example, replacement teeth such as crowns, bridges, or veneers do not respond to whitening efforts. If you have any of these in place and use whitening products, the teeth around the replacement may respond but the replacement itself will not.
Save yourself time, money, and discomfort in the long run, and be sure to follow the package directions carefully. Do not leave the product on for longer than recommended or use it where potentially harmful, or damage can result in sensitive teeth and gums or even burned gums. This sometimes creates new or worsening of existing problems and require additional treatment.
What Can I Do to Prolong Teeth Whitening Results?
To prolong the results of your teeth whitening efforts, there are a few things you can do at home. Maintain good oral hygiene habits by brushing twice a day with whitening toothpaste, flossing daily, and using a mouth rinse with whitening agents; attend routine dental examinations and cleanings; and eliminate or reduce the consumption of acidic, enamel damaging foods and drinks such as coffee, wine, soda, and sauces.
If a beautiful, vibrant smile is something you desire, Lincoln Smiles can guide you on the best method and correct procedures to achieve healthy, white teeth safely. Call us at 916-543-8800 today to schedule a consultation.