Written by Dr. Andrew Luccio
Public demand for tooth whitening is rising at a record pace, and rightfully so. Tooth whitening, also known as bleaching, can serve as an easy and affordable means of enhancing appearance and improving self-confidence. New whitening systems are more efficient and effective than ever, but having the right information before you begin whitening can make the difference between achieving the smile you’ve always wanted or falling short. Here are some of the most common questions dental patients have about tooth whitening and the answers that will help you take the right steps to safely and successfully brighten your smile.
Does tooth whitening work? Yes – incredibly so in fact. Successful and long lasting tooth whitening depends on three very important factors. 1) Preventing shade rebound. What is shade rebound? Many whitening formulas dehydrate teeth, which cause teeth to appear lighter in shade without actually removing the stains that cause your teeth to darken. As soon as you stop using these systems, the teeth naturally absorb water and the whitening effect is reversed in one or two weeks time. How do you prevent the shade rebound effect? 2) Use the right system. The latest research shows that a combination of dental office treatment followed by a prescribed home bleaching course leads to the best short-term and long-term results. The in-office treatment jump starts the whitening process with a highly concentrated formula that can only be used under professional supervision. This allows formulas that remove stain AND hydrate the teeth to brighten your smile and avoid the shade rebound effect. 3) Follow the instructions! It is amazing how much time and money is wasted by patients who do not follow the directions for a given whitening system and fail to reach their whitening potential. Always read the instructions and, more importantly, consult your dentist to make sure it is the right whitening system for you.
How long does it take? The average whitening system will take a minimum of two weeks of daily whitening to achieve desired results, but all depends on the strength of the whitening formula. Stronger formulas will render faster results but, depending on the individual, can also cause tooth sensitivity. Your dentist can help you find a formula that will minimize bleaching time while preventing sensitivity.
How long will the color last? An in office treatment and home tray combination can yield results that last for 2-4 years. If you are someone who drinks coffee or tea, or smokes, a yearly “touch-up” may be necessary consisting of a week long course of home whitening trays.
Does whitening damage my teeth? Tooth whitening is completely safe if used according to the instructions provided by your dentist. Overuse or improper use can lead to tooth sensitivity or gum irritation, but these can be easily avoided by taking an educated approach to whitening and following the directions.
At South Boston Dental Associates, we offer a variety of whitening options that are tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Our team is always excited to answer any questions you might have regarding tooth whitening or any dental service you might be interested in.
South Boston Dental Associates