Types of Teeth Whitening
A beautiful smile is, perhaps, our most powerful calling card. It conveys warmth, authenticity, joy, and appreciation for the other person. Yellowed or stained teeth are an unsightly distraction, while bright, clean, white teeth add to the positive impact, making your smile even more attractive, with the benefit of greatly increasing your self-confidence in personal interactions.
Over the years, the technology of how to whiten teeth has improved, and more and more people are taking advantage of the many options now available. Just what are these options and how do you know which one might be best for you?
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Enamel is the thin, outer shell of tissue that covers the crown of the tooth and is the tissue that is visible. Interestingly, it is the toughest, hardest tissue in the body, but it can be penetrated by caustic substances and worn down by the natural process of aging. It is also translucent. This means that you can see light through it so, if it is worn, the yellowish color of dentin—which is the inner layer of tissue below the enamel—starts to show through. The thinner the enamel gets, the more its naturally white color is diminished.
The whiteness of the enamel can also be affected by genetics, as well as “from the inside out” by certain diseases and medications.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent Discoloration of My Teeth?
There are several things you can do at home to help prevent discoloration of the teeth. These include avoiding coffee, tea, colas or other sugary drinks, wine, and using tobacco products. These each create deposits on the teeth. Acidic drinks such as red wine or colas can affect the enamel, leaving it thinner and prone to yellowing.
To an extent, just good dental hygiene, like twice-daily brushing and flossing and having regular cleanings to remove these types of substances, makes a tremendous difference in the color of your teeth. Even if you care for your teeth, in time, they may begin to appear dull or yellow, and ready for whitening.
How Well Do Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products Work?
There are a variety of OTC whitening kits available that can bleach your teeth over time. The basis on which they work is the same; it is the method of application that differs. There are toothpastes, strips, trays and pens or gels, all of which use peroxide as the primary bleach.
Some require only five minutes per application; some require as much as 30 minutes per application. All require a number of applications over time—typically one to two weeks—with trays the least popular because they are not customized to fit your mouth, and uncomfortable to wear.
What is important is the strength of the peroxide in the bleach, as too much can be painful and burn or damage the soft tissue of the gums. If you decide to try this route, be sure to check for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This will help ensure that there is a safe level of peroxide in the product. Even so, many people discover that they get gum irritation when using over the counter treatment and achieve very limited results, if any. Our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Tara Hardin, offers both in-office and at-home teeth whitening treatments that produce exceptional whitening results.
Do Dentists Offer Any At-Home Options for Teeth Whitening?
At Hardin Advanced Dentistry, we offer take-home teeth whitening kits. These are customized for the patient. Custom-made kits include trays. These trays are built to fit your mouth and are far, more comfortable than the one-size-fits-all trays in ready-made or over-the-counter kits.
Are there any other benefits of take-home whitening kits?
Beyond the comfortable fit of the trays, there many other benefits to having Dr. Hardin create a custom, teeth whitening kit for you:
- She will provide the strongest, yet safest potency of the whitening solution, so it will be the most effective with minimal risk of damaging any of the soft tissue.
- They are convenient since you can whiten your teeth when you want to.
- The whitening occurs over the course of several weeks, so friends, family, and colleagues do not notice the gradual change as it occurs.
- To maintain a beautiful white smile over many years, you can repeat the process, as necessary, using the same trays.
What is the KöR Whitening System?
The KöR Whitening System combines at-home with in-office treatments. It is comprised of customized trays and a patented bleaching gel that is used for two weeks at home, while you sleep.
Some of the benefits of the KöR system are as follows:
- That it can lighten the enamel as much as 16 shades or more—which is far more than any of the over-the-counter products can produce.
- The results are long-lasting.
- It is one of the very few products that can help diminish chemical stains from tetracycline.
When you have completed the at-home series of treatments, you will have on, final in-office session with Dr. Hardin.
Why is Zoom! the Teeth Whitening System of Choice for In-Office Whitening?
One of the major benefits of Zoom! is that it takes only one, 45-minute visit to complete the procedure. If you have a major event coming up over the weekend and want to look your best, you will be ready, with a radiant smile up to 10 shades lighter. The only prohibitive factors could be gum disease or tooth decay, which would have to be addressed before having the Zoom! procedure. Because of this, it is wise to plan ahead.
How Does the Zoom! Procedure Work?
Zoom! uses a combination of whitening gels and an LED light that activates the whitening.
The procedure is as follows:
- After your teeth are cleaned, you will be given splash guards to protect your clothes and eyewear to protect your eyes from the LED light.
- Your cheeks will be retracted so the complete surface of your teeth is visible.
- Your gums will be protected from the whitening gel.
- The gel is applied and activated with the light.
- After about 15 minutes, your mouth is cleaned, and the treatment repeated two more times.