Teeth WhiteningSan Francisco, CA
Teeth whitening treatments are one of the most common procedures that cosmetic dentists perform, and they are one of the most affordable ways to improve the way your teeth look. Your smile is an important part of your appearance because it creates a visual, subconscious and immediate impact on those you interact with.
A vibrant, white smile creates an impression of warmth, happiness, good health, vitality and youth. It can brighten the day of those you interact with. An unsightly-looking smile can create an impression of poor hygiene, unattractiveness and a lack of success.
The benefits of having a healthy smile go past social interactions. It can also impact your professional life. A healthy smile can help you build rapport with coworkers and clients.
Who needs teeth whitening?
The biggest issue that most people have with their smile is the color of their teeth. It is perfectly normal for teeth to become discolored as a person ages. There are many coloring-agents, called tannins, in the things we drink and eat, and teeth become more yellow as a person ages.
The stains that develop on a person's teeth over time can make them feel like their teeth are beyond whitening treatments, but that is rarely the case. Whitening treatments are effective on most types of stains that can be found on teeth, like those caused by foods, aging or smoking.
Teeth can also become discolored due to tooth decay, failed root canals, trauma to the tooth, use of antibiotics during childhood and overexposure to fluoride.
Teeth whitening options
There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to teeth whitening. Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products are available at grocery stores and drug stores all over the U.S., but these are the least effective way to whiten teeth. Such products include whitening strips, gels, mouthwash and toothpaste. The low end of these OTC products can damage teeth enamel because they contain abrasive ingredients. High-quality OTC products are less abrasive, but it can take months to see noticeable results.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are the most effective way to improve the color of teeth because dentists have access to stronger whitening agents that are not available OTC. The active ingredient in these whitening gels, typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide, is significantly more potent than what is found in OTC products. The result is a more intense whitening treatment that can improve the color of teeth by up to eight shades after a single treatment. Whitening agents used by dentists also tend to have fewer side effects than OTC products.
The two popular types of whitening treatments performed by cosmetic dentists are:
1. In-office teeth whitening
A professional teeth whitening session performed by a dentist is the quickest way to whiten teeth. As mentioned, dentists have access to more powerful whitening solutions, and a customized mouth guard is used to prevent the bleaching agent from seeping into gums, where it can irritate soft tissues.
Many of these professional whitening products contain a buffer that protects enamel from being damaged as teeth are whitened. Patients might need follow-up treatments to reach the desired shade of white.
There is no recovery period after teeth whitening treatments, but it is normal to experience a certain amount of tooth sensitivity after getting them. This typically goes away after a few days. If the sensitivity persists, there are various ways to manage it, like using desensitizing toothpaste.
The typical in-office whitening session lasts about an hour. Depending on the type of whitening agent being used, the dentist might use a laser to agitate the solution. This speeds up the whitening process, something that most patients appreciate.
2. At-home teeth whitening
Dentists also provide whitening treatments that patients can use on their own at home. These products are not as powerful as those used for in-office treatments because the dentist will not be able to supervise its use. Still, they provide a more effective alternative to OTC whitening products, which can be ineffective and cause damage to enamel.
At-home teeth whitening also provides a more convenient option for patients. These kits typically contain whitening gels and a custom mouth tray to apply the product. They do not produce instant results like in-office treatments, but the patient will have whiter teeth after a few weeks of use.
The custom mouth tray provided by the dentist ensures that it fits when the patient uses it. It allows them to evenly apply the whitening gel without getting it into their gums or other soft tissues.
Importance of maintenance treatments
The battle for pearly white teeth is not over once your teeth have been whitened to the desired shade of white. The tannins in foods will continue to stain them and so will habits like smoking. Over time, your teeth will start to lose their new color as stains accumulate on them.
Maintenance treatments are needed to preserve the results of teeth whitening. Regularly performing these maintenance whitening sessions will help preserve the results of teeth whitening. Patients can also do simple things like using a whitening toothpaste and mouthwash to keep stains and discoloration away. Failing to perform maintenance treatments on whitened teeth will eventually lead to them becoming as stained as they once were.
Benefits of teeth whitening treatments
Teeth whitening is the leading way to whiten the color of teeth, thanks to various benefits :
- It is a non-invasive treatment with no recovery period
- Most types of stains are responsive to whitening treatments
- Whiter teeth improve a person's facial aesthetics
- It leads to increased confidence and self-esteem
- It creates a more youthful appearance
- It is one of the more affordable ways to enhance the appearance of your smile
Start your journey toward whiter teeth
Teeth whitening treatments might be exactly what you need to restore or enhance the appearance of your smile. It is a non-invasive procedure, and you will be able to go back to your daily life with your whiter teeth once it is over. Call or visit our San Francisco clinic to learn more about teeth whitening and how it can improve your smile.
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