Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that won’t result in healthier teeth but it may result in whiter teeth and a bright smile to give you a boost of confidence. There are different types of teeth whitening that can be done conveniently at the dentist’s office or at home.

Bleaching the teeth will change the colour of the tooth enamel, remove surface stains, and tackle some of the deeper stains. While your dentist can bleach the teeth in the office, there are also a plethora of over-the-counter kits that you can buy to whiten your teeth at home.

Bleaching at the Dentist’s Office

If you’ve opted to get professional teeth whitening at the dentist’s office, the dentist will often combine bleach with a laser to help speed up the process. Treatments usually last 30 minutes to an hour and multiple treatments may be needed. Your gums will be protected with a gel or shield before putting the bleaching agent on your teeth.

Bleach concentrate used at the dental office is generally stronger than other at-home methods of teeth whitening because a dentist will be able to monitor how it’s used.

At-Home Whitening Kits

Your dentist may be able to give you a kit with a custom mouthpiece that fits your teeth with a gel containing the bleach. You will receive instructions on how often to wear the mouthpiece and for how long.

Other methods of whitening include over-the-counter kits with bleach concentrations that will vary by product. How you use it and for how long will also depend on the type of whitening product. Some will have a mouthpiece while others may be whitening strips that you can lay on your teeth.

Bleaching may not work if you have had tooth-coloured fillings or bonding in your front teeth. The bleach won’t affect the colour of these materials. If you have many fillings or crowns, it’s a good idea to speak to your dentist before undertaking a teeth whitening procedure.

All of the methods have different costs and it’s important to keep in mind that insurance won’t usually cover cosmetic teeth whitening procedures.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

If the mouthpiece you are using doesn’t fit well, it may hurt your gums. Whitening treatments may also cause teeth sensitivity although it usually disappears after the treatments are completed.

It’s also important to remember that teeth whitening is not permanent. Drinking coffee or smoking, for example, can cause your teeth to lose their new whiteness at a faster rate.

Which whitening treatment is right for you?

If your teeth and gums are in good condition, you may be able to use at-home teeth whitening kits. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, custom-made trays from the dentist’s office may help avoid irritation.

Because the concentration of bleaching agents is generally stronger at the dentist, your teeth may whiten more quickly while avoiding irritating the gums over a long period of time.

Anyone can purchase over the counter whitening products. However, a dentist will only dispense products to patients who can pass a basic oral health screening. Getting an at-home kit from a dentist may prevent serious pain or damage to your teeth and gums. For best results, home whitening should be administered after thorough professional teeth cleaning.

In-office whitening treatments are generally open to anyone with good oral health. During a consultation with the dentist, you will get a full oral health examination. If you have any oral health conditions such as tooth decay or gum disease, you may need to hold off on whitening treatments as the concentrated bleach solution can cause significant pain. If you have any oral health conditions, it should first be discussed with your dentist before receiving any in-office whitening treatments.

If you are interested in achieving a brighter smile with teeth whitening, consider consulting with your dentist about your options. They may be able to help you determine if you would be best suited for in-office or at-home treatments.

Visit your dentist at Klamath Smiles to learn more about your options for teeth whitening.

PLEASE NOTE: At Klamath Smiles, we want to motivate our patients to value great oral hygiene. We offer free bleaching for all of our patients that schedule regular hygiene visits.