Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is an safe, economical, and non-invasive way to brighten your smile.
Bleaching or whitening is any process that makes teeth appear whiter. Whitening procedures work by lightening your natural tooth enamel. Having a beautiful white smile is one of the most common requests by patients, there are a number of ways to whiten your teeth. Please consult with your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist about which method maybe best for you.
Dentist-Dispensed Bleaching Trays (For Home Use)
One of the most common methods for whitening teeth is the use of custom fitted bleaching trays. This procedure requires two appointments. At the first one, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth. A thin, clear plastic tray is then fabricated and custom fitted for your teeth. At the second appointment, the trays are tried into your mouth and adjustments are made if necessary. A bleach solution is dispensed by your dentist for use in the trays. You may wear the trays twice a day for 30 minutes or longer up to a few weeks depending on the level of whitening desired and the amount of stain on the tooth.
Over-the-Counter Bleaching System (Strips)
You can purchase over-the-counter bleaching systems from DHA. These products come in the form of strips that are applied to your teeth by pressing them into place with your fingers. The strips available for purchase at your dentists office have higher concentrations of bleach than is offered in similar store bought products. They should be used only as directed on the package. Results are not as predictable as with some of the above mentioned bleaching options but this method is very economical and offers an easy solution to brighten your smile.
Whitening toothpastes contain polishing or chemical agents to improve tooth appearance by removing surface stains. This process will take much more time than the other bleaching options.
How to care for your whitened smile?
There are a few things you can do at home to help make your newly whitened smile last longer. First of all, maintain good oral hygiene habits including brushing and flossing daily. Also be sure to keep your six month cleaning appointments with your dentists office. Avoid color staining foods and beverages including coffee, tea, and red wine. Smoking also affects the color of your teeth so consider this motivation to quit.
How white can my teeth get?
This depends on a few factors such as which bleaching method you use, your natural tooth color and how well you will respond to bleaching. Ask your DHA dentist for a more specific answer for your teeth.
Are there any risks to bleaching my teeth?
Occasionally, bleaching may cause irritation to the gingiva (gums) around the teeth being bleached or increased tooth sensitivity. These symptoms can be treated by limiting the duration of bleaching or stopping the bleaching process. If tooth sensitivity is a problem consider using a sensitive formula toothpaste like Sensodyne for a week prior to beginning the bleaching process and continue its use until you have finished bleaching. Use caution when placing trays or strips into the mouth to avoid bleach coming in contact with your gum tissue. Use a Q-tip or tissue to wipe off excess bleach after seating your trays or strips.