If you have had your teeth cleaned professionally but are still unhappy with their color, then you may want to look into teeth whitening procedures at our Dallas dentist office near you. Over-the-counter whitening toothpaste and whitening kits from the pharmacy may whiten your teeth one or two shades. Still, to get dramatically whiter teeth and remove deeper stains, you’ll need to see a cosmetic dentist for treatment.
When Do I Need Tooth Whitening?
The color of your teeth is not an indicator of their health. You can have yellowed or stained teeth that are completely healthy and strong. For this reason, teeth whitening is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. In no way is tooth whitening necessary for ongoing dental health, but it can help improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence. Patients often find that they smile more often and feel more comfortable in social situations after having their teeth whitened.
If you are not happy with the color of your teeth, it’s a good idea to have your teeth professionally cleaned before you schedule a whitening appointment. During a professional cleaning appointment, your dental hygienist removes tartar, a hardened form of plaque that makes your teeth appear yellowed. In some cases, a cleaning procedure may adequately improve the appearance of your teeth. If you are not happy with the results of cleaning alone, then you should talk to your dentist about affordable whitening procedures.
Tooth whitening procedures can remove stains associated with aging, drinking coffee, or smoking. They cannot, however, reverse staining from antibiotic use. If you took tetracycline and experienced blue-gray tooth stains as a side effect, your dentist may recommend veneers or crowns, rather than whitening, to improve the appearance of your teeth.
Am I A Candidate For Tooth Whitening?
If you desire whiter teeth, your dentist will first need to examine your teeth and evaluate your health history to ensure you’re a suitable candidate for a whitening procedure. Sometimes, this can be done during your annual checkup if your general dentist offers whitening services. Other times, your dentist may conduct a brief consultation at the beginning of your whitening appointment. He or she will look over your gums and teeth, examine recent x-rays, and talk to you about any dental symptoms or pain you may be experiencing.
Patients who are in good health and do not have any grave dental ailments are good candidates for professional whitening procedures. However, if you have any of the following conditions, your dentist may recommend against a whitening treatment — or that you wait a few months to pursue such a procedure.
– Teeth whitening treatments can make your teeth feel a bit sensitive to extreme temperature and pressure following the procedure. Most patients can easily manage this side effect. Still, if your teeth are already touchy, the whitening process might result in hypersensitivity that makes eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth uncomfortable. Your dentist might recommend using sensitivity toothpaste or undergoing fluoride treatments to ease your sensitivity before pursuing whitening procedures.
– Gum disease can induce pockets to develop between your teeth and gums. If the chemicals in your whitening therapy infiltrate the pockets, this can cause pain and sensitivity. A dentist can work with you to help treat your periodontitis, making teeth whitening a safer choice. Gum disease therapy may include deep cleaning, antibiotic rinses, and surgery to reduce the size of pockets.
– If you have any cavities, it is not safe for your dentist to use whitening chemicals on your teeth. Thankfully, having tooth cavities filled is a fast and straightforward process. Once the cavities are filled, your dentist should approve of you as a fit candidate for teeth whitening.
– If you have extensive dental restorations, such as crowns or bonding, your dentist may advise against having your teeth professionally whitened. Though the whitening treatments should not damage the dental crowns or bonding substance, it will not alter their color, either. If you do choose to have your teeth whitened, the crowns and bonding may become evident.
Pregnancy or Lactation
– The effects of tooth whitening on pregnant women have not been well-evaluated. Hence, most dentists recommend that pregnant or nursing women wait until they are no longer pregnant or nursing.
Teeth Whitening Process
Professional teeth whitening is a simple process. There are two different varieties of treatments. Your dentist will suggest the type that’s best for you based on the level of staining, your predisposition to sensitivity, and how fast you require results.
Professional Teeth Whitening
If you want the fastest results possible, such as for an upcoming wedding or special event, your dentist is likely to recommend an in-office whitening procedure. When you arrive for your appointment, you will take a seat in the dentist’s chair. He or she will apply a special guard to your lips and gums to shield them against the compound whitening agents being used.
The bleaching agents will then be applied to your teeth and allowed to sit for about fifteen minutes. While the bleaching agent does its job, your dentist will illuminate a special UV light on your teeth, which stimulates the bleaching agent and speeds up the whitening process. Depending on the color of your teeth after the first round of bleaching, your dentist may suggest repeating the process once or twice. Once the final bleaching process is complete, your dentist will rinse the product off your teeth, and you’ll be free to return home.
In-office bleaching typically takes about two hours. The bleaching agents used are more potent than the ones sold over-the-counter at pharmacies, so they must be applied by a dentist to avoid contact with your teeth and gums. Some patients experience mild jaw discomfort after holding their mouths open for so long during the whitening treatment, but you should not notice any pain.
Home Teeth Whitening
If you are prone to sensitivity or don’t feel comfortable sitting with your mouth open for two hours during in-office whitening treatment, your dentist may recommend take-home trays instead. Your family dentist will create a mold of your teeth and use it to create customized trays. You’ll be given these trays, along with a unique bleach solution, to take home with you. After each application, your teeth will grow whiter and whiter.
The whitening trays provided by your dentist are different from those you can buy over-the-counter. Because the trays are custom-fit to your mouth and not likely to uncover your gums to the whitening agent, the trays can be used with a more powerful whitening agent than over-the-counter kits.
What to Expect After Teeth Whitening
Your teeth should look up to 10 shades whiter following therapy. People who glance at you should notice the dramatic contrast. However, these results are not everlasting. You’ll want to take appropriate steps to maintain your white teeth for as long as possible.
- Avoid dark-tinted beverages such as coffee, red wine, and soda.
- When you do consume dark-colored drinks, sip them with a straw to decrease contact with your front teeth.
- Floss and brush every day.
- Don’t smoke.
- Have your teeth deep-cleaned by a dental hygienist every six months.
If you follow the tips above, your smile should stay white for at least a year or longer. When your teeth start to yellow or develop stains again, you can schedule another whitening appointment with your cosmetic dentist.
Serious side effects after whitening procedures are rare. Some patients do experience some sensitivity in their teeth and gums after an in-office whitening procedure or session with take-home trays. When this happens, try to avoid beverages with extreme temperatures. Be sure to use a toothpaste designed for senitive teeth. Your teeth should return to normal within a few weeks.
Teeth Whitening Cost
Because teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure, most dental insurance plans will not cover the cost. However, whitening is a more affordable dental treatment than many patients assume. In-office whitening costs starting at $199+. Take-home trays are often more affordable, and you can often reuse the same trays if you need to whiten your teeth again in the future.
Teeth Whitening at a Dentist Near Me
If you are dissatisfied with the color or shade of your teeth, use our convenient “dentist near me” ZIP search tool to schedule a whitening appointment today online or by phone at (214)731-0124. Your dentist will evaluate your oral health to ensure you are a candidate for whitening, and most patients are. These procedures are safe, the only common side effect is short-term sensitivity, and the results are long-lasting and dramatic. We also offer the best dental implants in Dallas.