What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a process where our natural teeth are treated with a bleaching gel that allows them to lose accumulated stains and achieve a whiter brighter smile.
Why Do Teeth Change Color Over Time?
Our mouths and teeth go through a lot in a day. Everything we consume goes past our teeth. This can cause our smiles to change over time, and go from white to not-so-bright. Many things can stain teeth, but most commonly stain is caused by foods, drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco, and aging. Sometimes trauma to our teeth can cause them to discolor and darken over time. When this happens, it may require other dental treatments to lighten the tooth again.
What Are My Teeth Whitening Options?
It is important to speak to your dentist before starting. A dental exam and teeth cleaning is always recommended prior to beginning the whitening process. If you are a candidate for teeth whitening, you have a few different options:
At-Home Whitening from Your Dentist
Over-the-Counter Bleaching Products
Stain Removal Toothpastes
At-home Whitening From Your Dentist
Philips Zoom! NiteWhite
- This professional treatment uses custom-made, take home trays and a whitening gel. This type of whitening treatment is only available through your dentist.
- The whitening gel, called carbamide peroxide, is placed into custom trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. Your dentist will give your instructions to do this properly.
- The bleaching agent penetrates your tooth enamel to break up stains that are caught in the teeth. Unlike whitening strips, professional whitening contains ingredients that decrease tooth sensitivity to allow for maximum comfort. Sensitive teeth is a common side effect of bleaching, but do not worry, it is only temporary.
- Professional take home whitening trays generally follow a 10-14 day regimen, although patients can notice results in as little as 3-5 days.
- This professional whitening treatment provides dramatic results allowing you to achieve that desired whiter, brighter smile.
- The staining will slowly recur, so it is usually necessary to touch up the tooth whitening process about once a year.
Over the Counter Bleaching Products
Over the counter kits are available at drugstores and online. This type of cost-effective teeth whitening system uses a plastic strip that fits over your teeth. While effective, the concentration of the whitening agent on these strips is much lower than professional bleaching gel. Because the strips are pre-formed and not custom, they can cause gum irritation.
It is important to pick a teeth bleaching treatment with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That means it has been tested to be safe and effective for teeth whitening.
Stain Removal Toothpastes
- All toothpastes use mild abrasives to help remove superficial surface stains on teeth. Whitening specific toothpastes have additional polishing agents that help with stain removal.
- Unfortunately, toothpaste does not change the color of teeth – it is only effective at removing surface stains. It is important to note that all patients should choose a toothpaste that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance
Ready to Learn More?
If you are interested in having whiter teeth, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Skokie, IL dental office to schedule an appointment today! Our team would be happy to answer your questions and help you make the best decision for you to achieve a brighter smile!