As the new year approaches, it is time to start making our new year resolutions. Often on our lists are some kind of cosmetic goal, such as losing weight or trying a new hair color, but what about our teeth? This year it is time to take care of those pearly whites. Let’s add “Get a Whiter Smile” to our resolutions list. Why not bring in the new year with a whiter smile?
Our teeth can become discolored and dull due to our diets, age, medications, and genetics. Getting your teeth professionally whitened in the office can help you get a whiter smile in just one session. There is also the option to whiten at home with products provided by your dentist. Either way, you can start your year off with a bright and radiant smile.

What is Teeth Whitening?

As a society, we associate white teeth with youthfulness and health. Although this is not always true, white and radiant teeth is something that many of us desire. Teeth whitening treatments are the easiest and best way to get a radiant and bright smile. Teeth whitening helps to restore the natural color of teeth by removing stains that have accumulated on the tooth. These whitening products work by breaking down stains with special ingredients. These ingredients usually include hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. The color becomes less concentrated and less apparent, once the stain has broken down. Keep in mind, this will not stop stains from reappearing, so regular maintenance appointments and proper after will be needed.
Teeth whitening treatments do not work on all stains or on all teeth. Stains that are hues of brown and/or gray usually do not respond as well to the whitening agents as other types of stains. Teeth that have had restoration work done, such as fillings are not affected by the whitening solution. Also, teeth that have become discolored due to trauma or medication usually do not respond to whitening treatments. This is something to keep in mind when considering teeth whitening, as this may give you a look that you are unsatisfied with.

Professional Teeth Whitening Options

There are many different options available when it comes to teeth whitening. Although various options can be purchased over the counter, the best, safest, and most dependable results come from products provided by your dentists. These can be in-office treatments or treatments that can be performed at home. Here is the difference between the two different treatments, so you can decide which option would be best for you.

In-Office Treatments

In-office whitening treatments are often the preferred method of teeth whitening because of the immediate results. After just one session, which may take around an hour, there will be a significant difference in the shade of your teeth. These results can last for a year or even longer. During these treatments, a stronger solution is used on the teeth, giving quicker results. This may cause more sensitivity, but most dentists are able manage any discomfort that may be felt.
The process of an in-office teeth whitening treatment is quick. Once you are comfortable in the chair, a barrier will be placed over your gums to make sure that they are protected from the whitening solution. Then the gel is applied to your teeth and will sit for the recommended time, usually around fifty minutes. After the time has passed, the whitening gel will be rinsed away and the barrier will be removed from your gums. You will notice that your teeth are brighter and more radiant. The longevity of your whiter smile will depend on how you care for your teeth following treatment. You can also continue with at home whitening treatments for touchups or to achieve a brighter shade.
There are many different whitening treatments that can be performed in the office. Each dentist uses different technology. Some offices use lasers, or lamps, and others use more innovative products that only rely on chemistry. Treatments that use lamps require the whitening solution to be applied to the teeth and then use the specialty lamp to activate the solution. At Sarasota Smile Design, we use the newest and most advanced forms of teeth whitening that no longer need lasers. There have been multiple studies that have found there is no benefit of using a laser or other forms of extra equipment over products that don’t use them.

At Home Treatments

Many dentists offer an at home option to achieve professional whitening results. This method is still very effective, but results take longer to see. Your dentist can give you a kit that you can use in the comfort of your home. This kit is easy to use and usually comes with a lower concentrated whitening gel that can sit on your teeth for an hour or longer. Using a customized bleaching tray that has been fitted to your mouth and teeth, the gel is applied to the teeth. Sometimes this process can be done overnight, depending on your dentist’s instructions. This is also a good option to maintain an in-office whitening treatment.

Potential Risks

Before having your whitening treatment, your dentist will consult you about any pre-existing conditions and previous dental work that you have had done. This will allow them to assess if teeth whitening is right for you and help them to minimize any potential damage. Patient’s with sensitive teeth should consider that teeth whitening can make your teeth more sensitive. Due to teeth whitening is not affective on crowns and filling, patient’s that have undergone dental restoration procedures may not wish to have treatments.Potential risks of teeth whitening includes uneven results, enamel erosion, permanent gum and/or tooth sensitivity, and damage to your dental roots. Having your procedure performed by a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist will lower your risk of possible complications.

Are you ready to bring in the new year with the confidence of a whiter smile? It is time to start your whitening treatments and check off one of your resolutions as complete.

Give our office a call today. We can schedule a consultation for you to discuss your teeth whitening options and decide what method would be best for you.