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Teeth Whitening, So Many Choices

Teeth Whitening

It’s never been easier to get the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted thanks to all the options of whitening your teeth. What’s not easy is figuring out which option will work best for you and your teeth.

Your dentist can help to evaluate your teeth and determine which option of lightening will provide the optimal result for you. If you have not had routine care in a while, total patient care begins with a comprehensive examination, which may include x-rays, to evaluate all the teeth and rule out or diagnose any dental diseases that need addressing prior to whitening. All the following options work to different degrees. The following are whitening treatment options and the indications for usage:

In-Office Bleaching — this process is done in the dental office in about an hour. It provides the fastest and safest results. The in-office product may range from 15-35% hydrogen peroxide and may be light activated. A gum protector is applied to help diminish gum irritation from the powerful solution. Tooth sensitivity may occur, but is short lived. The whitening is be supplemented with personalized trays to be utilized at home for routine maintenance. This option is perfect for someone who wants it done fast, or has difficulty wearing trays. This option gives the most favorable results. The fee range is $500-$600. Dark developmental stains (like Fluorosis or Tetracycline stains), may require additional procedures.

Dentist-Prescribed Take-home Bleaching — this process is done over a period of weeks. The process is quite simple, but consistency and patience is important for a successful result. The active ingredient is 10-15% carbamide peroxide. The dentist or hygienist takes impressions of your teeth and fabricate personalized trays. Custom made trays are essential for success. Syringes of professional grade solution can be purchased at the dental office and applied in the trays as needed. This option gives great results for most people, but takes time. The fee range is $350.

Over the Counter Products — People with stains on their teeth from smoking, tea and coffee, red wine or age think the lightening products available over the counter will banish that stain, but it may not be that easy. Sometimes these extrinsic (outside) stains may be removed by using the whitening toothpastes or with a professional cleaning. Many stains penetrate deeper into the tooth surface and require the more powerful lightening products. Unsupervised use of these OTC products could cause harm to your gums or teeth and diminish the outcome you have dreamed about. Swallowing too much solution could make you ill or burn your throat. One size fits all trays, or “boil and bite” trays, could injure the gums or leave gaps that keep the solution from touching the tooth surface or allow it to ooze out of the tray. With care and many weeks of application, the strips or paint on whitening solutions may help to lighten your teeth. The active ingredient is much weaker 4-7% carbamide peroxide. If you do not get the result you had hoped after a few months, maybe it’s time to seek professional help. Some whitening toothpastes and gums will only help in reducing the outside stains from coffee, tea or tobacco and will not change the color of the teeth themselves. These products are often unregulated and their use unsupervised. This option gives fair results, in some people. The fee range is $7-49.

If you want your smile to be the whitest it can be, please be sure to speak with your dentist about which option would work best for you safely, quickly, and efficiently. Get stared on the smile you’ve always dreamed about. If your dentist doest not offer in-office or take home whitening, please call Dr. S. Alicia Ramos at 493-5714 to arrange a brief consultation to see if you are a good candidate for whitening your teeth.

-S. Alicia Ramos DDS