A beautiful and dazzling smile isn’t only for celebrities. A beautiful smile makes you feel and look attractive, which can greatly boost your mental health, confidence, and overall quality of life.
Unfortunately, the many years of consuming highly pigmented items like coffee, soda, and tomato sauces can make your teeth look dull, stained, and discolored. Dental trauma, tooth decay, and poor habits like smoking and poor dental hygiene can also cause your teeth to stain.
Fortunately, you don’t have to feel bad about your smile anymore. Our dentist in Covina, CA, can whiten your teeth to give you the smile you love. Please keep reading to learn about your teeth whitening options and whether it’s safe for your teeth and gums.
Teeth Whitening Procedures
When considering teeth whitening, it’s best to consult your dentist first for an exam. The dentist will examine the type of stains you have to determine whether teeth whitening is right for you. Then, they will recommend the best approach to brighten your smile, saving you money and effort that you may have otherwise used on treatments that might not work.
The best treatment for you will depend on factors like your type of discoloration, budget, age (children), and dental health. Your teeth whitening options include:
In-office teeth whitening treatment
Doing it in your dentist’s office is the best, most long-lasting, quickest, safest, and most effective way to brighten your teeth. In this case, the dentist will begin by cleaning and polishing your teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
Next, the dentist will apply a whitening gel to the teeth. The whitening gels contain high concentrations of bleaching ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide. The gel breaks down teeth stains for easy removal. The dentist can use a special light or laser to activate the chemical process for speedy treatment.
Lastly, the dentist will brush and rinse your mouth thoroughly. The dentist can prescribe fluoridated toothpaste to minimize sensitivity after the whitening treatment.
At-home whitening trays through your dentist
If in-office whitening isn’t an option, the dentist can prepare whitening trays to whiten your teeth at home. The dentist takes impressions or molds of your teeth to make custom-fit trays. You should put the whitening gel in the tray and wear it for about 30 – 60 minutes daily for several weeks.
Over-the-counter whitening treatments
While not recommended for deep teeth stains, you can also whiten your teeth with over-the-counter whitening products. They can include toothpaste, trays, strips, and rinses.
These products usually contain significantly lower concentrations of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide than that provided by the dentist. It can take longer to show results or show no results at all. Some products use abrasive chemicals to whiten teeth and thus might not be safe for your teeth and gums.
You may have heard about home-based methods of whitening teeth. These can include activated charcoal, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. While they might have worked for some people, these products aren’t scientifically proven. Most of them are abrasive and can damage your tooth’s enamel if used regularly. Be sure to consult your dentist if you use these products to whiten your smile.
Do teeth whiteners damage enamel?
According to the ADA, hydrogen or carbamide peroxide whiteners are effective and safe for whitening teeth. However, they can be harmful if misused. Even in-office whitening can weaken your teeth if done too frequently. Therefore, ensure you avoid staining habits after your treatment to reduce the number of treatments you may need in a certain period.
Most store-bought whitening products use abrasive chemicals, increasing your risk of teeth and gums damage. When using these products, ensure they have the Seal of Acceptance from reputable bodies like the ADA. Also, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions strictly.
If applied wrongfully, teeth whitening can have side effects, including:
Contact your dentist if you experience severe symptoms after using teeth whitening products.