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Your wedding is coming up and you want your smile to be its brightest. Or maybe you have an important speaking engagement. Whatever the reason, whitening isn’t just for the movie stars. Many people have had their teeth whitened by bleaching, and millions more are thinking about it. The desire for a brighter smile with whiter teeth is very strong, and teeth whitening safely lightens the color of the teeth, lasting for up to five years. The most effective and safest method of teeth whitening is dentist-supervised.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently questions we get asked.
Generally, teeth whitening is successful in 90 percent of patients, though it may not be an option for everyone. Pregnant women will want to inquire with their dentist and physician before treatment begins. Consider tooth whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown or orange respond better to lightening. Other types of gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline are lightened, but results are not as dramatic and may require significantly longer treatment for the desired results. If you have very sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or teeth with worn enamel, your dentist may discourage whitening.
Dr. Adolf recommended that I use a whitening procedure as my teeth were very yellow. After explaining the procedure, she made the trays for the whitening agent. The trays fit very comfortably and held the whitening agent in pace as it did its work. I now have healthy, white teeth.
~ CA, Limerick
First, the dentist will determine whether you are a candidate for tooth whitening and what type of whitening system would provide the best results. If you’re in a hurry for whiter teeth, you may decide to have your teeth lightened immediately using an in-office bleaching system. Our office is not equipped to perform in office instant bleaching. However, most patients choose dentist-supervised at-home whitening, which is more economical and provides the same results. With the at-home method, your first appointment will include having impressions of your teeth made to fabricate mouth trays for you. The mouth trays are custom made for your mouth and are lightweight so that they can be worn comfortably while you are awake or sleeping. The mouth trays are so thin that you should even be able to talk and work while wearing them. Along with the mouth trays, you’ll receive the bleaching materials and will be given instructions on how to use them. You will wear the mouth trays for just 15 minutes once or twice a day for one to two weeks.
Lightness should last from one to five years, depending on your personal habits such as smoking and drinking coffee and tea. At this point you may choose to get a touch up. This procedure may not be as costly because you can probably still use the same mouth trays. The re-treatment time also is much shorter that the original treatment time.
The active ingredient in all of the whitening agents is a form of peroxide, either concentrated hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, varying in strengths. When water contacts this white crystal, the release of hydrogen peroxide lightens the teeth.
Several studies, during the past five years, have proven bleaching to be safe and effective. The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval to some tooth bleaching products. Some patients may experience slight gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which will resolve when the treatment ends. When bleaching at home, it is important to follow the instructions on the kit. If you experience pain or increased sensitivity, stop using the product and call your dentist.
No one can really predict how much lighter your teeth will become. Every case is different. Typically, there is a two shade improvement as seen on a dentist’s shade guide. The success rate depends upon the type of stain involved and your compliance. Whitening can only provide a shift in color from gray to lighter shade of gray, for example. Whitening does not lighten artificial materials such as resins, silicants, or porcelains, like crowns.
Have More Questions? If you have more questions, call us at 610.409.2644 or use our handy contact form. The professionals at Limerick Dental Care will be happy to help.
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