One of the first things that people notice when they meet you is likely your smile. According to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry study, 96% of adults believe having an attractive smile can make a person seem more appealing. Teeth whitening is one common elective procedure you can choose if you’re seeking to improve your smile and appearance. After all, having a bright and whiter smile can help you feel confident and enhance your career and social opportunities.
What Does Tooth Whitening Involve?
Teeth whitening treatments can fix the two main types of discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains occur on the tooth’s surface, are cosmetic, and rarely pose a serious threat to oral health, while intrinsic stains occur on the inside of the tooth and are usually harder to treat.
Reducing intrinsic stains involves using a chemical reaction to change the teeth’s color. The most common ingredients found in teeth whitening products include hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. The bleaching action comes from the carbamide peroxide, which releases about one-third of its content as hydrogen peroxide. Within 15 minutes of exposure, the hydrogen peroxide cuts through spaces in the enamel, giving you a whiter smile.
Differences Between In-Home and Dental Office Teeth Whitening
You have several options when selecting the best teeth whitening option for you. Whitening treatments include:
- In-office whitening treatment: This option usually involves the application of a peroxide-containing gel or power bleaching, which uses concentrated solutions of hydrogen peroxide in water.
- Over-the-counter whiteners: These products typically are peroxide-based and have lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide compared to doctor-prescribed whiteners. You can choose from toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Approval, gels painted directly onto teeth, and whitening strips.
- Dentist-supplied products: These whiteners include gels delivered in custom-made trays, which you can either use for in-office treatment or at-home use.
Professional At-Home Teeth Whitening Systems
Even if you don’t have time to visit the dentist’s office to have a teeth whitening procedure done, you can have a dental-supplied at-home whitening kit. Often, these professional kits work better than the over-the-counter whiteners because they’re geared specifically for your teeth. The dentist makes a tray in the office that fits in your mouth comfortably and snugly, limiting the exposure to your sensitive gum (gingival) area.
To get a professional at-home whitening kit, your dentist makes an impression of your upper and lower teeth. These impressions become your tray, and when it’s ready in about a week, the dentist will show you how to place the whitening gel in the tray. Although results vary, as long as you follow the instructions carefully, you should notice a change within a week of using these types of systems.
To learn more about teeth whitening or to schedule an appointment, contact us at Carolina Family Dentistry. Led by Dr. Ron Banik and his team, Carolina Family Dentistry uses state-of-the-art technology to provide patients with the best care. Reach out today to discuss teeth whitening options, so you can be on your way to having confidence in your smile.