Published: April 19, 2018

It seems that almost everyone is flashing a brighter, whiter smile lately. Teeth whitening is becoming so popular for very good reasons – the increased confidence and social benefits it provides. Your cosmetic dentist has the most up-to-date whitening information and these tips will guide you to the best in-office or at-home method to fit your individual needs.

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How Does Tooth Whitening Work?

An active whitening agent that safely penetrates the tooth enamel is applied to the teeth in almost all methods. Oxygen is released and breaks apart the bonds of the discolored molecules which create stains in the dentin.

A professional teeth whitening treatment uses more powerful solutions under expert supervision, sometimes combined with special light catalyst technology which speeds up the process. Zoom in-office whitening is a great example.

Common stains that are effectively lightened or eliminated include:

  • Coffee and Tea
  • Red Wine
  • Colored Sodas
  • Dark Vegetables
  • Tobacco
  • Aging

Whiter Works Wonders

The benefits of teeth whitening go far beyond simply deep cleaning your teeth. Some of the quick wins you will enjoy are:

  • Improving your mood by smiling more.
  • Making a good first impression by feeling more confident.
  • Receiving more smiles as you smile more yourself.
  • Being perceived as younger and more attractive.
  • Getting a new job or a promotion with your newfound confidence.
  • Preserving your best smile in photos and videos of special events.
  • Experiencing better dental health as you take pride in your smile.
  • Saving money by taking advantage of affordable, non-surgical cosmetic treatments.
  • Sharing your smile unselfconsciously.
  • Communicating your feelings with open and genuine facial expressions.

Who Shouldn’t Whiten Their Teeth

Not everyone is a perfect candidate for teeth whitening. There are a few conditions or situations where creating a white smile might take longer or require some dental work. Even if one of these applies to you, it is still a good idea to check with a dentist you trust to find out what options might be available.

You may not be able to utilize these treatments if you have:

  • Tooth and gum hypersensitivity. You may still be able to use a dilute solution in take-home trays under dentist supervision.
  • Deep intractable stains. Some stains are resistant to the whitening agents used and require other methods such as veneers to make the teeth white again.
  • Teeth that have become transparent with age. In this case other cosmetic dental treatments would be used.
  • Visible front-facing dental work. These will whiten at a different rate than your teeth. They might need to be replaced to match your new whiter smile.
  • A baby on board. Although these products are safe for adults, the tooth whitening agent should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
  • Whitened enough already. Over-whitening may cause erosion of the tooth enamel. If you have been whitening for a long time and aren’t satisfied with the results, check with your dentist before continuing.

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Choosing the Best Teeth Whitening Treatment

The best starting point is a consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you choose the best whitening method based on a thorough examination. Share your goals, your budget, and your history to help set the right expectations.

This initial examination will document the current shade of your teeth as a starting point against which you can track progress and adjust frequency or method as needed. The goal should be healthy and natural-looking teeth. An expert opinion on how white is realistic is very helpful.

Over-the-Counter Methods

These are the least expensive and slowest whitening products. Users who are consistent and follow instructions diligently will see gradual results. Many people don’t stick with these methods long enough to experience much benefit, however.

These pre-packaged options include:

  • Whitening Toothpaste. With a mild abrasive effect, and no bleaching component, toothpastes will lighten teeth about one shade.
  • Whitening Rinse. This type of mouthwash has a dilute peroxide formula. Using it like a traditional mouthwash, it is not in contact with the teeth for very long, so it is a very slow method better suited to maintenance.
  • Whitening Strips. These are thin plastic strips which are coated with a peroxide gel. Wearing these about 30 minutes a day for two weeks will produce the best results. These are more effective than toothpaste and rinses, but they may not cover all your teeth.
  • Whitening Gel. These vary widely in strength and effectiveness. Most can produce results similar to whitening strips. Try not to lick the gel off your teeth or swallow it. Letting the gel sit is the most difficult part of this method.
  • One-Size Whitening Trays. With a one-size-fits-all approach, these plastic trays hold whitening gel in contact with teeth similar to the customized trays dentists provide. If they fit well, they will produce good results, but if they rub or leak due to a bad fit they will cause pain and lose effectiveness.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Office teeth whitening procedures have some clear advantages over these pre-packaged options. Starting with a consultation and evaluation, your teeth whitening dentist can guide you to the best choices available.

Your dentist will also recommend teeth whitening if you:

  • Are about to have a crown or other dental work applied, to avoid matching their color to temporarily stained teeth.
  • Are having your braces removed, to get rid of any residual staining from the attachments.

If you have crowns, veneers, or composite bonding which will not respond to the treatment you can discuss strategies to address these. In-office treatments start with a teeth cleaning to prepare your teeth for the whitening process. One of the best of these professional methods is Zoom.

Zoom to a Whiter Smile

The Zoom teeth whitening procedure takes about an hour per session and starts with covering the lips and gums to protect them and keep your teeth fully exposed for treatment. Your dental assistant will apply the whitening gel, and then utilize the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp which activates and speeds up the gel’s effects.

After 15 minutes, during which you can relax and listen to music, the gel will be removed, a sensitivity-reducing treatment applied, and the session is complete. Three or more sessions of Zoom whitening might be part of your plan depending on the shade change you are hoping to achieve. Up to eight shades whiter is possible!

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Keeping Your Pearly Whites Their Whitest

Following your treatment, you will be provided with a special Zoom at-home touch-up kit which includes custom-fitted trays. Use these as your dentist recommends to keep your teeth white.

After the treatment you should avoid staining foods and beverages or have them in moderation. Developing a habit of brushing, flossing, using your dentist-recommended toothpaste, and following a regular teeth cleaning schedule will prevent new stains from setting in.

The Whitest Smile in Texas

Is it time to find out how bright your smile can be? One of the most innovative options for teeth whitening Arlington, TX residents can choose is Zoom whitening at Smiles Family Dental. With this chairside office whitening process so readily available there is no reason to keep your smile under wraps.

Our trusted team is ready to guide you to the myriad of benefits a whiter smile will bring. Our team will provide comprehensive care and partner with you for the best possible results. Reach out to our office today and schedule a consultation, then experience what it feels like when the world smiles back!