Whiter teeth are said to make people appear ten years younger. Whitening is one of the easiest ways to improve appearance, and one of the most sought after cosmetic dentistry treatment options because even the healthiest smiles are vulnerable to the staining effects of foods and beverages consumed daily. A trip to the local pharmacy shows just how popular teeth whitening is. Over the counter whitening strips, gels, toothpastes, and mouth rinses likely consume an entire aisle of shelving. What most people don’t realize is these products are not likely to be effective whitening solutions, and they may even damage tooth enamel or soft tissue with extended use.
There are three main reasons over the counter whiteners are ineffective. The first is the low concentration of peroxide (the active ingredient in all teeth whitening products) compared with professional whiteners. The FDA only approves products with an extremely low concentration of peroxide, meaning that even the best non-professional whitening solutions are only active for five to ten minutes. This is due in part to the low concentration of peroxide, and to the neutralizing effects of saliva that is not effectively kept away from teeth during treatment with over the counter whiteners. The final reason over the counter whiteners are ineffective is that peroxide is not confined to tooth enamel, and can damage soft tissue. Dr. A. Scott Grivas, and his dentistry team recommend patients schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation before considering any teeth whitening options. Our team examines smiles and provides treatment recommendations specific to individual healthcare needs.
Zoom! In-Office Whitening
For patients interested in achieving dramatic results quickly, Zoom! in-office whitening treatments brighten smiles up to ten shades in one office visit. Zoom! is a unique in-office system that combines a professional-grade whitening gel with LED light to accelerate the chemical reaction that removes stains and brightens teeth. The Zoom! whitening procedure begins with a protective coat placed over soft tissue to repel potentially damaging whitening gel. Then, the dentist applies whitening gel to the visible portions of teeth, and places the no heat light over the patient’s smile. Patients allow the whitening gel to work for 20 to 40 minutes depending on severity of staining. When the dentist removes the whitening gel, patients’ teeth are dramatically brighter.
Professional At-Home Teeth Whitening
Patients who prefer gradual lightening and those with sensitive teeth may prefer to whiten teeth at-home. Professional at-home whitening products are more effective than over the counter options because they contain a higher concentration of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. Additionally, custom application trays seal whitening gel onto teeth protecting gum tissue and keeping neutralizing saliva out so peroxide is active for longer, sometimes up to six hours. At-home whitening also allows dentists to provide patients customized treatment plans with higher or lower concentrations of peroxide and adjustable wear times to achieve the optimal effective while protecting oral health. Many patients notice results right away, but the most dramatic results occur after two weeks of treatment. Patients are typically able to lighten smiles between six and ten shades with professional at-home whitening.
Find Out More
If you’re interested in enhancing your smile with in-office or at-home teeth whitening, contact Dr. Grivas and his Sacramento dental team today. We’re happy to help patients find the right solution to brighten their smiles.