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Franklyn Alexander, DDS
General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients Choice Winner 2016

The Basics of Teeth Whitening

We place a high value on smiles, and for good reason. A smile can make or break a first impression. According to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of adults view a smile as a vital social asset and 74% think an unattractive smile can hurt career chances.

Of all the procedures available, tooth whitening is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to improve your smile. In as little as an hour, your teeth can look dramatically whiter.

Why Teeth Whitening?

The main reason to consider tooth whitening is because you are unhappy with the current shade of your teeth. However, you should also consider the treatment if you are getting crowns or veneers. Both of these are matched to the current color of your teeth. If you decide to have your teeth whitened at a later time, the crowns or veneers will noticeably stand out. Because of this, some patients choose to whiten their teeth beforehand.

Teeth Whitening Process

After a consultation with your dentist, molds of your teeth will need to be made. These molds are used to make the trays that hold the bleach. It’s essential to have trays that are customized to fit your mouth so that bleach doesn’t leak out onto your gums. This is a major benefit of choosing an in-office treatment over an at-home kit.

After the trays are finished, they will be filled with the bleaching agent and applied to your teeth. Some types of bleach require a light or laser to activate them, while others are self-activated. The bleach will be left on for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of whitening procedure that your dentist uses. Regardless of the procedure, your smile will show a significant improvement the very same day.

After Teeth Whitening

Unfortunately whitening is not a one-time fix. Your teeth will gradually become dark and stained again over time. For this reason, a lot of people return to the office for touch-ups. There are also several things you can do on your own to slow the process of darkening.

  • Avoid foods that contain tannins, such as berries, pomegranates, nuts, and wine
  • Limit consumption of coffee and tea
  • Drink dark-colored soft drinks through a straw
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
  • Keep up with oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay