Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments

Today, there are several types of over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments available. However, professional teeth whitening at Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry is a safer and more effective way to brighten your smile. Dr. John F. Rink can explain what you can expect from the types of teeth whitening available at our Charleston, SC, office compared to what you can purchase yourself.     

Professional teeth whitening is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to significantly enhance your smile.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration is a very common dental issue. You may want to brighten your smile even if you brush and floss daily and get routine dental exams and cleanings. If you use tobacco, be aware that it typically stains your teeth. In addition, certain foods and drinks such as coffee, black tea, soda, tomato sauce, berries, and citrus foods and drinks can lead to unsightly staining.

A shade guide being used to gauge teeth whitening

With professional teeth whitening, your teeth can be several shades lighter.

In-office Treatment

If you are a candidate for in-office teeth whitening treatments, Dr. Rink will whiten your teeth with the Opalescence Boost System. Since the whitening gel can irritate the gums, a protective barrier will be placed to protect the soft tissues of your mouth. Next, Dr. Rink will apply hydrogen peroxide whitening gel to the exposed surfaces of your teeth that need whitening. He will make sure that the gel is applied evenly for natural-looking results. Typically, the gel will remain on your teeth for 15 minutes before being removed and reapplied. Three or four applications are usually sufficient. For most patients, one in-office whitening visit is adequate to obtain satisfactory whitening results, but patients with stubborn stains may need an additional treatment. You may want to have periodic whitening sessions to maintain your dazzling new smile.

At-home Professional Treatment

Dr. Rink can provide you with a custom-made, at-home whitening kit that will allow you to achieve great teeth whitening results in the comfort of your own home. If you are a candidate for at-home whitening, Dr. Rink will first make impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to his dental laboratory so the technicians can make whitening trays that will fit comfortably and securely in your mouth. At home, you will apply the provided whitening gel to the trays and fit the trays over your teeth. You wear the at-home trays for a prescribed amount of time each day, and the entire process takes about two weeks. 

Over-the-Counter Treatments

There are many over-the-counter options for teeth whitening. Some of these options provide better results than others. Whitening toothpastes contain a mild abrasive that can whiten teeth up to one shade. Whitening mouthwashes contain small amounts of peroxide, and these rinses are not believed to be very effective as the peroxide only touches the teeth for about one minute.

Whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic coated in peroxide. You attach the strips to the front of your teeth for about 30 minutes per day for two weeks. These strips are reportedly the best over-the-counter whitening method.

The treatment regimen for whitening gels depends on the type and strength of gel that is purchased. Gels can give results similar to whitening strips. Pre-made whitening trays are made to contain whitening gel, but because they are not custom-made for each patient’s mouth, the gel can ooze out and cause gum irritation.

Benefits of Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to significantly enhance your smile. This improvement can positively affect your self-confidence as well as other people’s perception of you.  The procedure is also safe and non-invasive, especially compared to other smile improvement techniques such as dental bonding and porcelain veneers. Over-the-counter options are not as effective as professional teeth whitening and, depending on the product used, they can harm tooth enamel and irritate gums.

Schedule a Consultation

Teeth whitening is a quick way to improve your appearance. To learn more about professional teeth whitening, or any of the other great cosmetic dentistry services we offer, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rink.

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