One of the most requested dental services is professional teeth whitening. A smile tends to be the first thing we notice about a person, and an increasing number of Americans want to make sure their pearly whites are set to dazzle. The best way to do that is to make an appointment with an experienced dentist to ensure your teeth are carefully and properly whitened, with longer lasting results.
The Top 4 Reasons to Get Professional Teeth Whitening
There are a variety of reasons individuals seek teeth whitening from professionals such as those at Meyerland Family Dentistry, all of which generally give individuals more confidence in their smiles. Some of the most popular reasons typically include:
- Better application than over the counter kits. Over the counter kits are designed to make teeth whiter over a period of time, but the starting point can make all the difference in the results. Teeth that are not professionally cleaned before a treatment may be applied over tartar and plaque, and that may reduce its effectiveness. When a dentist provides a thorough teeth cleaning, it allows for a cleaner and more uniform surface for a whitening treatment, offering better results.
- Hiding minor tooth stains incurred by eating and drinking. Individuals who regularly drink liquids such as soda, coffee, and tea, may have slight stains or discoloration on their teeth. Those patients who choose to get their teeth whitened at the dentist’s office often report greater success in minimizing or eliminating the appearance of those stains.
- A polished look for special events such as holiday parties and weddings. It is normal to want to look your best, but that can come with a certain sense of urgency when a special event is fast approaching. When you want to look your best and not leave the process to chance, consult with your dentist a few weeks before the event to put you on the schedule for a teeth whitening treatment.
- More dramatic results. While over the counter teeth whitening products may do what they are designed to do, eventually, it is generally not to the effect of a professional whitening treatment. An in-office teeth cleaning beforehand in combination with a dentist’s knowledge and expertise of teeth whitening can yield the more dramatic results a patient is typically looking for, and quickly.
How Professional Teeth Whitening Works
To truly understand the benefits of having a professional teeth whitening treatment, it helps to know how the process works. While it can vary from patient to patient and dentist to dentist, it generally follows the below steps:
- Making an appointment.
Call ahead to your dentist and let them know you want to make an appointment for the treatment. This allows them to build in enough time to also do a professional cleaning and take dental x-rays if needed.
- Cleaning teeth.
Upon arrival for your appointment, the first step is generally to thoroughly clean the teeth to rid them of any food particles, plaque or tartar that would inhibit the whitening solution from working. This also gives the dentist an opportunity to check on the patient’s overall dental health.
- Using a mouth barrier.
To effectively reach all teeth with a whitening solution and keep the lips, cheeks, and tongue from interfering, many dentists use a mouth barrier. While it may seem a bit awkward, it is virtually painless and can result in better results. Some dentists also place a barrier along the gumline to keep the gums from becoming irritated by the solution.
- Applying the whitening solution.
Most dentists use a stronger hydrogen peroxide concentration than what is found in over the counter whitening kits as a bleaching agent. After the solution is applied, some dentists use a laser or curing light to activate the solution.
- Rinsing the teeth.
After the teeth have reached either the time limit for the treatment or the desired shade, they will be rinsed clean. If the time limit for the treatment has passed, but the teeth are not yet the desired color, it may require additional treatments.
It is worth noting that even professional teeth whitening is not permanent. Most individuals will eat or drink things that will eventually stain the teeth again, which is why some people make the whitening process a regularly scheduled treatment.
How Teeth Whitening at the Dentist May Save Your Dental Health
While it is true that having your teeth professionally whitened at the dentist can yield outstanding results, it may also play a role in your overall dental health. As mentioned above, for a teeth whitening treatment to work best, a cleaning is done beforehand. This not only sets the stage for a successful treatment but can also reveal important information about a patient’s dental health.
A person’s dental health can be a barometer of sorts for their overall level of health. If a dentist finds evidence of the beginnings of tooth decay or gum disease during a pre-whitening cleaning, the discovery could help save a patient’s teeth and prevent future complications.
Tooth decay may manifest itself in extreme sensitivity or pain that can happen, especially when eating and drinking extremely hot or cold items. If tooth decay is not addressed it can lead to cavities forming in a tooth, which can lead to more complex dental health issues if left untreated. When identified early, there are things a dentist can do to slow down and treat tooth decay.
Gum disease left unchecked can result in tender and swollen gums, the recession of gums, and even the loss of teeth. A dentist who finds that a patient’s gums are turning redder in color, appear shiny, or bleed more easily, may be able to diagnose gum disease in one of its earliest stages and prevent the condition from advancing.
If you are looking for teeth whitening services, be sure to choose a dentist that will be thorough and check your overall oral health in the process, as this will keep you smiling brightly for years to come.