When you smile, you want to do so with confidence. Attaining this confidence may come from a variety of things, including restorative dental care or dental implants. Depending on your current situation, the types of dental treatments you require can vary from extreme to simple.
Professional teeth whitening is one of the more simple dental treatments that improves your smile. When we say professional, we mean that a qualified general dentist performs the whitening process. New scientific developments have also allowed for many different at-home whitening treatments.
While convenient, most home whitening treatments fail to provide the same level of effectiveness as those performed in a dentist’s office. If you are wondering how different whitening processes differ particularly between professional and amateur sources, read on for a full explanation.
Tooth Appearance and Health
Perhaps one of the main advantages of getting your teeth whitened in a dentist’s office includes a complete dental exam prior to the treatment. Although tooth whitening is purely cosmetic, it should happen in tandem with a general check-up and cleaning. After all, it does not matter how white your teeth are if they are full of caries and decay.
Keep in mind, too, that most whitening treatments use hydrogen peroxide or a similar bleaching agent. This chemical helps remove surface stains, but may only have a minimal effect if there is a buildup of plaque or tartar between the teeth and the whitening chemical. In some cases, the rough surface of uncleaned teeth can even cause patchy whitening to occur.
By getting a professional dental cleaning before your whitening treatments, you can be sure that your teeth will provide a smooth surface for effective whitening treatment. You will also be ensuring the health of your teeth and gums before worrying about cosmetic adjustments. White teeth are nice, but healthy white teeth are even better.
Safety from Tooth Sensitivity
You may have heard that certain whitening treatments can result in gum or tooth sensitivity. This can happen when unapproved whitening products reduce the layer of protective enamel on your teeth. Over-the-counter whitening may also cause sensitivity to occur with improper or overly frequent application.
When you rely on a dentist to perform or prescribe whitening treatments, they will always ensure the health of your mouth first. Dentists do this by placing a protective gel or shield on your gums and lips during the procedure. They also will only use approved products that will not compromise the existing structure of your teeth.
As long as you only use products that are applied or supervised by your dentist, you can have white teeth without any negative effects like sensitivity.
Surface Whitening vs. Deep Whitening
In addition to the typical hydrogen peroxide or related whitening agents, dentists have the proper training to use a special light in their whitening process. This light acts as a catalyst to help stains immediately start breaking down.
While most at-home whitening treatments use peroxide agents to whiten the surface of teeth, professional whitening utilizes peroxide and light to penetrate deep into the tooth and actually changes its original colour. So although home remedies and amateur whitening kits may have temporary results, it is easy for teeth to become yellow again after a short time.
Professional dental whitening can last from 6 months to 2 years. The reason for this large time frame is that everyone’s mouth and teeth are different. Factors such as diet, age, genetics, and the original tooth color can all affect how long treatments last. Regardless, professional dental whitening will last longer than amateur treatments.
Viable At-Home Whitening
We have mentioned previously that some dentists may prescribe or supervise your whitening process. This simply means that in addition to professional in-office treatments, we can provide custom made trays for home whitening treatments. These are far more effective and comfortable than over-the-counter brands, since the tooth moulds perfectly fit the contours of your teeth.
Professional treatments can take between 30-90 minutes, and range from one to three different office visits. If you prefer the convenience of your own home, talk to us about at-home treatments they support.
You can also use these prescribed at home treatments along with professional ones for optimal whitening. If you have concerns about any type of whitening treatment you have used in the past, share them with your dentist. He or she will be able to help relieve your worries and treat any discomfort you may be experiencing.
Other Cosmetic Alternatives
In some cases, professional whitening may not work for you. Particularly old or stained teeth, white fillings, and other situations do not always respond to the regular professional whitening treatment. In these cases, we may suggest applying cosmetic veneers over your teeth for the white look you desire.