Teeth can become discolored for plenty of reasons. Your teeth could become stained from years of drinking soda, red wine, or coffee. Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco can also cause teeth to become discolored over time. Even eating foods that are high in starch (like pasta or potatoes) can make it easier for teeth to lose their white, pearly gleam!
No matter what the cause may be, tooth discoloration can be extremely frustrating. You may even find yourself hiding in pictures, or covering your mouth when you laugh. If you’re ready for brighter, whiter teeth, it may be time for a professional whitening treatment! Want to learn more about professional whitening? Take a look below: we’ll cover a few of the most common questions from dental patients who are considering an in-office whitening procedure.
Are over-the-counter whitening treatments worth it?
This is one of the biggest questions to answer when considering your options for whitening treatments. For some patients, at-home kits could certainly help lift stains and provide whitening results. Over-the-counter whitening treatments are less costly and conveniently available in drugstores , making them a popular choice for many dental patients.
But these at-home treatments are simply not going to be the best option for all. At-home whitening kits are only effective for light or minimal staining. If you have significant stains that have built up over time, at-home whitening treatments will not be effective, as these treatments contain much lower concentrations of whitening agents. As a result, your results will not be as long-lasting as a professional whitening treatment – which could mean that you are actually spending more money on over-the-counter whitening over time.
Another consideration to take is that at-home whitening treatments (such as Crest Whitestrips) are designed only to treat the front row of teeth. A professional whitening treatment will ensure that all of your teeth are addressed, providing a much more complete whitening process.
Finally, keep in mind that the safety and effectiveness of at-home whitening treatments is still under review. Recent studies have called for additional examination into the reliability of at-home kits, making it difficult to determine their ability to maintain tooth whiteness over time.
What happens during a professional whitening treatment?
A professional whitening treatment will begin with a professional cleaning to remove any buildup of plaque or tartar. Once the cleaning is complete, your dentist will apply a special peroxide gel to your teeth to begin the bleaching process. Professional whitening is painless, fast, and provides long-lasting results to lift stains from your teeth.
How long does professional whitening treatment take?
Each treatment may look a little different from one patient to the next. Your dentist will customize your whitening treatment to ensure that any deep-set stains are addressed, particularly if your tooth discoloration is caused by aging, tobacco use, or prolonged consumption of carbonated beverages, red wine, or coffee.
Each in-office treatment session typically takes at least one 15–30 minute interval to complete. Deep-set stains may require extra care and attention in order to resolve, so your dentist may decide to enhance your treatment with a light or laser to enhance the whitening process. Some dental patients see drastic improvements after one appointment, but you may need several in-office whitening treatments in order to see your desired results.
Should I be worried about side effects from my professional whitening treatment?
There are very few side effects from getting an in-office whitening treatment. Your teeth and gums may feel a little more sensitive for a few days, but this is normal and should go away on its own. Avoid foods and beverages that are overly hot or cold to minimize your discomfort. If your mouth still feels sensitive after two or three days, schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist.
Plaque, tartar, and food-related stains can all lead to tooth discoloration – which is why regular in-office cleanings are so important. Schedule an appointment with TruBlu Dentistry to get back on track with your cleanings, and ask about whether in-office whitening is the best treatment for you!