Tooth whitening enhances the brightness of natural teeth, but it's not for everyone. Discuss it with your Dentist before you take action, especially if you have:
- Discolored or sensitive teeth
- White spots or decay on your teeth
- Infected gums
- A bridge, crown, or other dental work (especially involving front teeth)
The lifespan of whitened teeth can range from 4-12 months, depending on the type of treatment used and your consumption of food and drink that can easily stain teeth (such as blueberries, coffee, and tea).
To keep your teeth their whitest without undergoing tooth whitening treatment, practice good oral hygiene.
Types of Whiteners
If your Dentist agrees that you are a candidate for tooth whitening, you can choose either an over-the-counter tooth whitening kit or a Dentist-supervised treatment.
If using an over-the-counter whitening kit, choose one approved by the American Dental Association and follow the directions on its package. Store-bought kits require 7-30 days of consistent use for full effect. Individual results can vary.
Dentist-supervised treatments provide greater tooth whitening results faster than store bought kits. Two types of treatment are available:
- An in-office treatment typically whitens teeth 5-10 shades.
- A Dentist-dispensed take-home kit contains a higher concentration of whitening agent than a store-bought kit and is as easy to use. You are likely to be more satisfied with the results of a Dentist-dispensed kit than by a store-bought kit.
After a thorough exam of your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your Dentist will tell you whether tooth whitening is a safe option for your smile. If the agreed-upon treatment is an in-office, Dentist-supervised treatment, your Clinician will:
- Prepare your mouth by covering your lips and gums so that only your teeth are exposed
- Apply a professional-strength whitening gel to your teeth
- Expose your teeth to a special light for 15 minutes to help the gel penetrate and whiten your teeth
- Invite you to watch TV or listen to music as you relax in the chair
- Reapply the gel and light treatment two more times