Everything You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening: A Comprehensive Guide
Unfortunately, it’s common for our teeth to become dull or discolored as we age, whether due to medical conditions, poor diets, bad habits and more. While this is perfectly normal, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your sparkling smile due to natural causes.
Thanks to leaps in modern dental technology, virtually anyone can undergo professional teeth whitening to regain their sparkling smile forever! In this article, we’ll cover the basics and benefits of this essential solution, compare them to other treatments like teeth whitening strips, and help you determine if it’s the best option for you.
Why Do Teeth Grow Dull?
Thanks to social media and celebrity culture, it might seem like pearly white teeth are the norm for everyone. Don’t be fooled, however, as many of the individuals you see on television have gone through extensive teeth whitening treatments or even wear custom-made veneers. Though gradual teeth discoloration is a natural problem, a few factors could speed up the process.
If you want to keep your smile as bright as possible, avoid these common offenders:
Foods and Drinks
As a rule of thumb, consider any food or drink that would stain a white tablecloth if spilled capable of doing the same damage to your teeth. Dark-colored options contain a pigment-producing substance called chromogens, which may stick to your enamel. Additionally, acidic items can damage enamel and make it easier for other foods to stain your teeth.
Foods that can encourage staining include:
- White and red wine.
- Energy drinks, sports drinks and sodas.
- Citrus juices and fruits.
- Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
- Any sauces, foods or beverages that include food coloring.
Lifestyle and Habits
The way you live your life can also determine how often you might require teeth whitening treatments. Our teeth act much like sponges do, absorbing a little bit of everything we put in our mouths. As such, consider adjusting your lifestyle to support a healthy smile.
Everyday teeth-staining habits include:
- Smoking and Tobacco Chewing: The nicotine and tar chemicals found in these products can easily cause yellow stains in those who chew or smoke regularly.
- Poor Dental Maintenance: Of course, ignoring the health of your teeth is one of the fastest ways to let them grow discolored! Ensure you floss regularly, brush properly and visit your dentist often for cleanings to eliminate plaque buildups.
Factors like genetics, illnesses, injuries and certain medications can also be reasons for teeth discoloration. However, it may be difficult to predict or prevent some of these causes — focusing on what you can change makes the dream of a perfect smile far more attainable! Consult with your dentist to develop a plan for maintaining your desired smile if you have any preexisting concerns.
What Options Are Available for Teeth Whitening?
Whether you’re planning a teeth whitening treatment for a wedding, job interview or simply to feel a little more confident, this solution is an exciting step for anyone hoping to gain a brighter smile. There are quite a few different methods available for patients to choose from with varying techniques; let’s walk through a few.
Professional Teeth Whitening with Philips Zoom
At Family Smile Dental, we carry only the highest quality of teeth whitening instruments to ensure our patients walk away with the best results possible. We use Philips Zoom for our treatments, which utilizes blue LED light-accelerated technology to protect enamel and improve shine.
The process is relatively straightforward and can be completed in under an hour. Expect these steps during your treatment:
- First, your dentist will apply a protective barrier to your gums to prevent irritation and coat your teeth with a special hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel.
- Next, your teeth will be exposed to Zoom’s blue light, activating the whitening gel and kickstarting the stain-removal process. Your dentist will wait 15 minutes before removing the light and rinsing off the gel.
- The steps above can be repeated up to three times within your session until your desired smile shade is reached.
Wondering how this works? Well, thanks to the highly concentrated whitening agents within the whitening gel, your teeth will start to lighten once exposed to the Zoom’s blue light. As you wait comfortably in your chair, the bleach will be working hard to break up and eliminate stains from your smile. Expect to see a difference of up to eight shades!
Additionally, Zoom’s whitening formula is specially made to reduce tooth sensitivity — something other whitening systems can’t offer. Still, your dentist will recommend you avoid aggressive flossing or brushing and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent irritation. Finally, stay away from dark foods, beverages and nicotine products to keep your beautiful results from going to waste.
A trip to your local supermarket’s dental care aisle will reveal various brands offering their own forms of teeth whitening strips. These popular options are found virtually everywhere across the nation, and it’s not hard to see why: they’re convenient and often much cheaper than high-end alternatives.
To use a strip treatment, you’ll apply them directly to your teeth and generally wait around 30 minutes before removal. Each strip is coated in a chemical mixture, often containing carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, along with glycerin, water, carbomer, adhesive and other ingredients. The peroxide agents are the main feature, as they are what lightens your teeth during application.
Despite their simplicity, there are a few downsides that come with teeth whitening strips. For starters, the overall process tends to be much longer, as most kits require daily use for up to two weeks before you see any serious results. If you’re hoping to undergo teeth whitening for a wedding or another significant event, this might be too long of a wait.
Additionally, the chemicals found in strips can damage your gums if misused; teeth sensitivity is also a common issue. Finally, your treatment’s effectiveness can be limited by the physical shape of the strips. Since they aren’t custom-made to fit your mouth, expect to see some inconsistencies in whiteness on the edges of your teeth.
Despite some setbacks, teeth whitening strips are still a worthwhile option as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and pick a trusted brand. That being said, professional teeth whitening remains the best solution for those who want the most efficient — and quickest — results possible.
Am I A Good Candidate for Professional Teeth Whitening?
A beautiful smile is something everyone desires. Fortunately, the majority of people are perfect candidates for this powerful treatment. However, certain individuals may need to use other alternatives if professional teeth whitening isn’t suitable.
Some of these factors to consider include:
- Tender or Receding Gumlines: The bleaching gel used during professional treatment can be irritating or painful for those with this condition.
- Previous Dental Work: If you’ve previously had crowns, caps or tooth-colored fillings, your dentist may not recommend whitening.
- Gray or Brown Stains: While they also cause discoloration, gray or brown tooth stains do not whiten the same as yellow stains.
- Dental Health Concerns: If you already have sensitive teeth, tooth decay, cavities, exposed roots or other health issues, you might not be the right candidate.
- Allergies: If you happen to be allergic to any bleaching agents like peroxide, you’ll want to avoid whitening gel!
A visit with Dr. Diaz can help you determine whether or not you fall into any of these categories and, if so, find alternatives that might be effective.
Common Concerns About Teeth Whitening with Philips Zoom Answered
Like any other dental procedure, you might have some questions before committing to treatment. The process should be exciting and stress-free, so let’s cover some common concerns:
Will Treatment Be Painful?
The whitening procedure is painless for most. However, it’s not uncommon to feel a brief flash of sensitivity in your teeth, which is a natural reaction.
Will I Experience Side Effects?
Besides a brand-new smile, you might bring home some tooth sensitivity in reaction to cold food or beverages. This should fade within three days.
How Long Will My Results Last?
No matter what, your smile will be brighter than before you walked into your dentist’s office for treatment. Still, it’s up to you to determine how long your teeth whitening results last. By changing your lifestyle to maintain white, healthy teeth, you can go years without needing another session.
Overall, professional teeth whitening is a safe, trusted and proven method that offers impressive results. Contact Family Smile Dental today to learn how we can help you achieve the smile of your dreams!
Questions Related to Teeth Whitening
WHAT IS TEETH WHITENING?
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO WHITEN MY TEETH?
CAN I GET TEETH WHITENING?
HOW MUCH WHITER CAN MY TEETH GET?
WHY WOULD WHITENING MAY NOT WORK FOR ME?
- Whitening can be ineffective to badly decayed teeth.
- A smoking habit can make whitening short-lived.
- Some whitening solutions can cause sensitivity problems.
- Whitening can slow down developing teeth.