Is dental whitening a good option for me?
- If you’re considering dental whitening, you’re not alone. Most people wish that their teeth were a brighter white than their natural shade.
- Dental whitening is a way to a brighter, whiter smile. Dental whitening, or dental bleaching, will help most people achieve a whiter tooth shade.
- It’s a great option to decrease stains. Whitening can be a great option for those heavy coffee and tea drinkers that have slowly built up staining on their teeth.
- Whitening is not as effective on internal stains. Dental bleaching does not work well on intrinsic staining, meaning discoloration coming from inside the tooth. It probably won’t work to fix staining that is only present on one tooth due to a previous root canal or trauma.
What is the whitening process like?
- Schedule a consultation to learn more about whitening. After a consultation with Drs. Benton or Nelson at our Winston-Salem office, we will discuss whether whitening is the right option for you. Not all discolorations can be treated with whitening, but your doctor will give you all the information needed so that you can make the best decision. Existing fillings, crowns and implants also will not be lightened by whitening products, so it is important than an exam is performed.
- We will make custom, comfortable whitening trays. If you decide to proceed with whitening, then molds are made of your teeth and custom, thin, flexible trays are made which can be worn at night to hold the whitening gel in place. The custom trays allow delivery of high concentrations of whitening gel while keeping it away from your gums and other oral tissues.
I have heard it called “bleaching” before. Is it actually bleach?
- No, dental whitening does not use bleach. While whitening is commonly referred to as bleaching, the actual active ingredient is carbamide peroxide, which is a very safe and mild product. There is no bleach involved in any dental whitening product on the market.
Will dental whitening hurt my teeth?
- No. The whitening process can only affect organic material that has stained your teeth. It cannot weaken the minerals of your teeth or damage the living part.
- Short term cold sensitivity is normal. Whitening does not harm your teeth. However, it can make them sensitive to cold liquids in the short term. This sensitivity will go away with time.
- If you experience sensitivity, whiten less often. For patients that are more prone to cold sensitivity, we recommend whitening your teeth less often and for shorter periods of time. If you choose to have professional whitening or bleaching at our office, we will create a customized protocol based on your tooth sensitivity.
- Certain toothpastes can help. Certain toothpastes, such as Sensodyne, contain fluoride and potassium nitrate which helps decrease tooth sensitivity.
How long does dental whitening take?
- Professional whitening is faster than over-the counter options. The advantage of prescription strength gel in custom whitening trays is that it is much quicker than over-the-counter versions. It depends on the level of stain that needs to be removed and the desired whiteness level, but results usually only take 3-4 weeks of wearing the trays each night.
I am worried that it will make my teeth too white and they will look like bad veneers
- Whitening will give a natural result. Whitening can make a dramatic difference for patients with heavy stain. However, it can really only take your teeth back to the whitest they’ve ever been naturally. Dental whitening alone won’t give you the extremely white “Hollywood” look that is often perceived as fake.
What is the next step if I want to go forward with dental whitening?
Give our Winston-Salem office a call at (336)760-1277 and we can discuss the next steps to achieve the smile that you desire.