Q. Can you tell me about Whitening ?
A. Many people have had their teeth whitened and millions more are thinking about it. The desire for a younger brighter smile with whiter teeth is easier than ever to attain today. Tooth whitening safely lightens the color of most teeth. Teeth darkened naturally from aging and food additives, as well as tobacco, can be easily lightened while staining from fluorosis and tetracycline are not as dramatic.
There are many different ways of whitening your teeth. There are take-home kits and in-office bleaching systems performed in an hour. The most effective and safest method of tooth whitening is dentist-supervised.
Q. What causes tooth discoloration?
A. None of us are exempt from tooth discoloration because the culprits are all so common. Some staining substances include soft drinks, juices, coffee, tee, red wines, berries, tomato sauce, soy sauce and smoking. Some discoloration is also a natural result of aging and long-term use of some medications.
Q. Is it safe? Any side effects?
A. Several studies during the past five years have proven whitening to be safe and effective. The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval to some tooth whitening products. Some patients may experience slight gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which will resolve when the treatment ends.
Q. How does it work?
A. The active ingredient in most of the whitening agents is carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in varying percentage concentrations. When water contacts this white crystal, the release of hydrogen peroxide lightens the teeth. Successful whitening depends also on emulsions and propagators present in quality bleaching agents.
Q. What's involved?
A. First, Dr. Fulop-Goodling will determine whether you are a candidate for tooth bleaching and what type of bleaching system would provide the best results. If you're in a hurry for whiter teeth, you may decide to have your teeth lightened immediately, by using an in-office bleaching system for that purpose.
However, most patients choose dentist-supervised at-home bleaching, which is more economical and provides the same, if not better, results. Dr. Fulop-Goodling will take impressions of your teeth to create a whitening appliance for you. The whitening appliance is like a mouthguard that is custom made for each patient. It is lightweight is comfortable to wear while awake or sleeping.
Some whitening systems recommend whitening your teeth from two to four hours a day. Generally this type of system requires three to six weeks to complete, and works best on patients with sensitive teeth. Other systems recommend whitening at night while you sleep. This type of system usually requires less than one week to complete.
Q. How long does it last?
A. Lightness will depend on your personal habits such as smoking and drinking coffee and tea, but can last for many years. Some people will choose to get a touch up if they notice a change in color.
Q. Is whitening a popular procedure?
A. Dentists report that 95% of their patients dislike the color of their teeth. Because years of research reveals that supervised whitening is safe, simple and effective it is now the highest demanded procedure for dental patients.
Q. Are the whitening systems purchased over-the-counter effective?
A. If the toothpaste with a whitening agent in it works well whitening your teeth, then the O-T-C whitening systems will also work well. Stonger whitening agents are regulated and dispensed by a dentist. Also, whitening agents purchased in a drugstore might not be strong enough to give your desired results.