A bright, white smile is a coveted asset that we associate with youth and attractiveness. Unfortunately, our smiles dull over time. If you’re unhappy with the appearance and color of your teeth, you might be weighing your teeth whitening options.
Should you try white strips from the supermarket? Or perhaps, you’re considering a visit to your Lafayette, LA dentist for professional teeth whitening treatments.
Following is some helpful information to help you evaluate your smile-brightening options.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products
Visit your nearest large pharmacy or supermarket and you will find a multitude of whitening products in the oral care aisle. These abundant options might be overwhelming as each product offers different pros and cons.
White strips are some of the most commonly known over-the-counter whitening products. You have probably seen them advertised on television and in magazines. Teeth whitening strips are made by a variety of manufacturers. They are thin, pliable strips of a gel-like formula that contain hydrogen peroxide (a lightening agent). Placed over teeth in a sticker-like fashion, they are worn for about 30 minutes or so—depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is important to use teeth whitening strips exactly as directed. The ingredients in these formulas can irritate soft oral tissue like the gingiva and linings of the lips. Moreover, overusing or misusing whitening strips can cause tooth sensitivity.
Whitening toothpastes clutter the oral care aisles. Many make bold claims but the truth is that most whitening toothpastes only have potent enough formulas to lift a shade or two of surface stains. Overusing whitening toothpastes can lead to permanent tooth sensitivity as many of their formulas contain abrasives. These abrasives are helpful for removing surface stains but if they are used for longer than directed or if a person brushes too vigorously, it could lead to erosion of tooth enamel.
Teeth Whitening Rinses
Teeth whitening rinses are another popular over the counter treatment option. These formulas contain low levels of bleaching ingredients. Like other store bought products, they should be used exactly as directed. Unfortunately, these teeth whitening rinses purchased from supermarkets aren’t very effective. Their formulas do not contain concentrations of bleaching ingredients capable of lightening deep, permanent stains. While these products are easy to use, their lack of results can be disappointing.
Professional Whitening Treatments
Over the counter whitening products can’t compare to the beautiful results of professional whitening systems from your dentist. This is because professional teeth whitening treatments utilize prescription grade formulas. These formulas contain potent yet gentle ingredients that effectively brighten teeth beneath their enamel surface.
Our Lafayette, LA dentist offers two professional whitening options. The first option, an in-office whitening treatment lasts about an hour. After placing protective gauze and liquid dam over soft oral tissue, our cosmetic dentist will then apply the prescription bleaching solution to the outer surfaces of teeth. More whitening solution is applied every 15 minutes in thin layers. The entire process is quick and comfortable. Shade indicators will be used before and after treatment to determine how many shades teeth have lightened. Many people can expect their teeth to lighten about eight shades brighter. If tooth sensitivity occurs with in-office whitening, it should subside in a few days.
In addition to in-office whitening, our practice offers take-home whitening kits. These kits are ideal for patients who want to maintain the results of their in-office treatment or for those who have sensitive teeth. Take-home whitening allows patients to brighten their smiles at their convenience. For instance, many patients enjoy whitening at home while performing household chores or watching television.
Take-home kits include a prescription whitening solution and custom trays. These trays fit comfortably over teeth and prevent the whitening solution from migrating to soft oral tissue, which can be irritating.
Maintaining a White Smile after Treatment
While the results of professional whitening are long lasting, it is important to protect your teeth from developing new stains.
Since dark-colored foods and drinks contribute to staining, it is helpful to consume stain-causing things in moderation. For instance, soda, red wine, and coffee contribute to stains. If you do consume drinks like these, consider using a straw. Drinking with a straw will push liquids with dark particles to the back of your mouth and reduce the frequency that these staining particles make contact with your teeth.
Be sure to maintain vigilant oral hygiene by brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily. Proper oral hygiene is essential for preventing the formation of new stains.
If you have questions about your cosmetic dentistry options, call us to reserve a smile makeover consultation with our caring dentist. We serve patients in and around Lafayette, LA.