The first thing that I notice when I meet someone for the first time is their smile. A beautiful smile lights up a face and conveys an immediate message of warmth before a single word is uttered. A pleasing, white smile is one of the quickest ways to make a great impression. And thankfully, today, it is more affordable and non-invasive than ever before to achieve.
Today, Teeth Whitening Is Affordable & Non-Invasive
If you’re contemplating teeth whitening services, chances are it is because you have tooth staining or discoloration (which tends to get worse over time). Today’s teeth whitening procedures can safely and effectively remove the staining and correct the discoloration, whether on the surface or internally. For this reason, teeth whitening, also known as bleaching, is by far the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in my office.
Tooth whitening is a chemical process in which a gel containing hydrogen peroxide penetrates tooth structure and oxidizes the molecules responsible for discoloration. The teeth are lightened by the process, which doesn’t alter the actual tooth structure. Your tooth enamel, dentin, and existing fillings or bonding are not affected or damaged by the peroxide.
While tooth whitening is a very safe procedure, there are some things that you should know before undergoing the process.
Sensitivity From Teeth Whitening
The most common side effect of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity, but measures can be taken to avoid or minimize this problem. First of all, your dentist must carefully evaluate your mouth before anything is done. If you have cavities, they must be addressed. If you have moderate to severe gum recession, you will be more susceptible to bleach-induced sensitivity and may require pretreatment desensitizing. If your teeth have visible tooth-colored bonded fillings or areas, they may need to be replaced because they will no longer match the lighter shade of your whitened teeth.
Teeth whitening is considered very safe unless your teeth are over-bleached. Excessive use of home or in-office bleaching products can result in opacity, which is the loss of natural translucency due to the destruction of enamel proteins.
Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Your Dentist’s Input
In my practice, tooth whitening involves two steps;
- In-Office Procedure: An in-office bleaching session followed by a supervised home program. The in-office session involves the use of a highly concentrated carbamide peroxide gel that is activated by a special bleaching light. First, your gums are protected with a rubber “dam” before the gel is carefully applied. Then a special light is turned on for 8-10 minute intervals until the desired whiteness is achieved. With this in-office procedure, most patients see instant, lasting results, and it typically takes only one visit to complete.
- At-Home Whitening: Several days later, you return to the office, we evaluate the results and provide custom-fitted bleaching trays that you will use at home. Another appointment is scheduled several weeks later for further evaluation.
I’ve always had a bias toward the appeal of a beautiful smile. Perhaps that’s why I became a dentist. If I were a podiatrist, I don’t think I would be drawn to people’s feet the way I’m drawn to a person’s smile. A wonderful smile can enhance your self-esteem and brighten someone else’s day.