Having a bright, beautiful, white smile is something we all desire. It signals health and prosperity and leaves the best possible first impression a person can make. There are a host of products at the drug store that label themselves “whitening.” Whitening toothpastes, whitening mouth rinses, whitening strips, gels and creams all line the shelves, promising a “new you!” Your dentist, however, offers something labeled as “bleaching.” So what’s the difference? Which should you choose?
Your natural tooth is made up of two specific layers: enamel and dentin. The enamel layer is on the outside of the tooth. It’s the white part we see when someone smiles. It’s hard and heavily mineralized and can appear like porcelain. The dentin is the inner layer. It’s yellow in color and supports the enamel on the outside. Over time, your enamel naturally wears away and the yellow dentin color can begin to show through.
The term “whitening” is applied to any product that helps restore teeth to a natural color by removing debris and stains from a natural tooth’s surface. Any substance that restores the surface of a tooth’s enamel is a whitening product. Many whitening products contain a mild abrasive that removes leftover discoloration and food particles, leaving the enamel of the tooth smooth and white. Teeth whitening products combat stains caused by ageing and the discoloration left by many foods, or by smoking.
The FDA permits the term “bleaching” only for products that can whiten a tooth beyond their initial, natural color. Bleaching products contain active ingredients such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide is activated so that it releases oxygen molecules that enter the tooth enamel and break down stains in a way that whitening products cannot. This activation can occur immediately, in the case of some in-office bleaching products, like laser whitening, or it can take several hours, as it can with custom take-home bleaching trays.
If you are considering brightening your smile, talk to Shreveport teeth whitening dentist Dr. Michael Woolbert & Dr. William Hall to see what product is best suited to your smile needs!
Our dental office is located in Shreveport
A beautifully white smile is often perceived as a sign of youth and vitality, but over time it can gradually fade. Eating certain foods or drinking dark-colored beverages, taking particular medications and simply aging can all take its toll on your teeth. It’s hardly surprising that tooth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures in recent years. Professional teeth whitening is safe and effective and can quickly rejuvenate your smile. If you’re thinking about whitening your teeth, there are several options to choose from which include:
In-office teeth whitening is hugely popular, as you can literally book a lunch time appointment and leave with a dazzling white smile. Surface stains can quickly be eliminated, and teeth can be brightened by up to eight shades in just an hour. This option is the most expensive, and you don’t have much control over the final results. Your dentist in Shreveport will activate the bleaching gel with a special light so the final result should be a stunning white smile.
Custom-Made Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Not everyone wants to whiten their teeth so quickly, and custom-made whitening trays enable you to safely bleach teeth in a more controlled manner. Your Shreveport cosmetic dentist will take impressions of your teeth that are used to fabricate custom-made whitening trays. You’ll be shown how to use these trays, and should wear them for as long as directed. Most people will begin to notice real results within a few days, but they generally need to be used for two or three weeks to achieve optimum effects.
Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter whitening kits come in the form of trays and whitening strips and can cost between $20 and $50 so it’s tempting to think they will save you money. However the bleaching gels contained in these kits are not as strong as those available to your dentist. In addition, there’s the possibility these kits could irritate your gums as ill-fitting whitening trays can allow the gel to leak out.
Our dental office is located in Shreveport
It can be rather upsetting to see that your smile is no longer as bright and appealing as it used to. Most people’s teeth become stained and discolored and result of diet and poor oral hygiene habits. It can make the whole appearance look dull and unkempt, giving others the impression you don’t take good care of yourself. Let’s find out the causes and what you can do about it.
There are some reasons that teeth become stained or yellowed. The culprits for tooth discoloration are as follows:
- Tobacco – Smoking or chewing on them stains teeth.
- Foods and drinks – coffee, colas, wines, tea, berries, sauces, and other items that you consume can damage your tooth color.
- Medications – certain medications are known to discolor teeth, sometimes causing severe stains that are difficult to remove.
- Poor oral hygiene – improper brushing and flossing is key in removing plaque and stains.
- Age – aging wears away tooth enamel and reveals the yellowish dentin underneath.
- Disease – some diseases can harm tooth enamel and trigger discoloration. Certain medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can also discolor teeth.
- Environment – excessive fluoride exposure can stain teeth; this is known as fluorosis.
- Genetics – some people are more prone to tooth discoloration than others.
- Trauma – a hit to the maxillofacial region can damage the tooth and cause discoloration due to pulp necrosis.
Lifestyle changes can prevent tooth discoloration, such as avoiding foods and drinks known to stain teeth. Improving oral hygiene is another step in the right direction, including regular brushing and flossing and consistent professional teeth cleanings.
The options vary depending on the severity of discoloration and goals of the patient. Whitening methods include over-the-counter whitening products, at-home whitening kits provided by the dentist, professional in-office whitening treatments, bonding, and dental veneers. These tools cater for various needs according to patient’s concern.
Our dental office is located in Shreveport
Nobody is happy with yellow or brown teeth. Ugly stains from smoking or consuming foods and drinks prone to discoloring your teeth can make you a good candidate for teeth whitening. There are many techniques available to restore your bright smile. The main two categories of teeth whitening are either at-home kits or professional treatment in a dental office. Let’s learn about these to see which you’d like to use to brighten your smile.
At-home teeth whitening
There are a variety of products you can try yourself to whiten your teeth. These treatments usually take a few weeks of use before your teeth are noticeably whiter. Also remember that most of these products cannot achieve as high of a level of whiteness as those performed professionally.
- Kits – whitening kits contain a tooth mold and gel to place inside the mold. You wear the filled mold for about 30 minutes for 2-3 weeks.
- Strips – thin whitening strips are coated with peroxide gel, and then you apply the strips directly to your teeth for 30 minutes for 14 days. Results become evident in a few days and last about four months.
- Toothpaste – brushing with whitening toothpaste must be done consistently and you must be patient because reaching the desired outcome usually takes a couple of months.
Professional teeth whitening
Treatments done by a dentist are the fastest and most effective way to regain your pearly whites.
- Laser whitening – the dentist coats your teeth with a hydrogen peroxide solution and then shines a laser light on them. This oxidizes the stains and gives them a whiter appearance.
- Porcelain veneers – if your teeth are severely stained and other whitening techniques haven’t done the trick, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers. These shells permanently cover your teeth and provide a beautiful smile.
Teeth Whitening dentist in Shreveport
There is no quicker or easier way to dramatically improve the look of your smile than professional teeth whitening. Your dentist probably offers several whitening options and can advise you about the most appropriate type of whitening treatment to ensure your brightest, whitest smile. No matter which whitening treatment you and your dentist decide will be best, there are several tips you can follow to help you achieve the ideal result:
- Have any existing dental problems treated prior to whitening to avoid side effects or complications.
- Schedule a professional teeth cleaning prior to your whitening appointment to remove buildup of plaque or tartar you cannot remove with home cleaning, and provide the best surface for the whitening treatment.
- Begin brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste several weeks before whitening to limit the sensitivity that can sometimes result from whitening agents.
- If you are extremely prone to dental sensitivity, check with your dentist about taking a painkilling medication before your whitening appointment.
- Consult with your dental office to determine how much time you should allow for your whitening appointment.
- Refrain from eating or drinking anything except water for at least one hour after the completion of your whitening treatment, and avoid ingesting foods and beverages that contain stain-causing agents for no less than 24 hours.
- Make sure to attend any follow-up appointments with your dentist.
- Maintain excellent home oral care habits to extend the life of your whitening procedure.
By following these tips, you can boost the results of your professional teeth whitening treatment and face the world with beautiful, bright smile!
We treat patients from Shreveport and the surrounding area
There’s really no way to avoid teeth becoming discolored over time. Even though you might brush like crazy, the odds are against keeping your bright white smile forever. Certain foods, aging, and habits like smoking are common culprits for staining teeth. With these factors against you, teeth whitening methods are in high demand. There are two main kinds of professional whitening methods: in-office and at-home. How do you know which is right for you?
Professional whitening in your dentist’s office is the most effective way to brighten your smile. It is the fastest way to achieve dramatic results, becoming up to ten shades brighter in just one hour. The bleaching gel used in the dentist’s office contains higher concentrations of peroxide, quickly and effectively attacking stains. In-office whitening utilizes special lights to activate the gel. The dentist is there to monitor the process to ensure you are comfortable and get ideal results.
There are a few negatives to consider with in-office whitening. Some patients experience sensitivity with the bleaching gel or the small amounts of heat during the process. Also, in-office whitening is often the most expensive way to brighten your smile, although many people consider the dramatic improvement worth the cost.
Whitening your teeth at home is somewhat less effective than in-office treatments, but many patients who don’t want to spend the time or money in the dentist’s chair appreciate this method. These kits consist of trays that your dentist provides that you fill with a lower concentrated whitening solution and wear for about thirty minutes at a time. Full results are usually possible in roughly ten days, and some patients achieve similar results as in-office methods.
Even with the lower strength gel, patients may experience discomfort during at-home whitening. You also must remember to wear the trays daily and be consistent with their use in order to obtain good results. At-home kits require patience.
Whichever professional whitening method you choose, a brighter smile is possible. Good oral hygiene practices afterwards and occasional touch-ups with home products will help maintain your brilliant new smile.
If you live in the Shreveport area contact us today