How Does Teeth Whitening Work? Everything You Need to Know‍

Who doesn’t want a gleaming white smile that stuns everyone when you walk into the room? When you suffer from tooth discoloration, it can take a huge toll on your confidence, mental health, and overall quality of life. 

You may find yourself skipping out on family functions, special events, and photos that should be cherished memories, all because you’re feeling self-conscious about your teeth. Cosmetic dental treatments like teeth whitening can banish that insecurity for good so you always feel your best. Read on to find out more about teeth whitening and if it’s right for you.

How In-Office Teeth Whitening Works

An in-office whitening treatment is performed in the dental chair by a dentist. Your teeth are whitened with the use of a peroxide-based whitening agent that penetrates your tooth enamel and breaks down staining molecules. 

In-office whitening treatments contain the highest concentration of peroxide which makes it the most effective whitening treatment and the safest. This is because dentists are professionally trained to safely apply and handle these concentrations for the proper length of time and we also protect your soft tissues from coming into contact with the peroxide. 

The entire process only takes about an hour and can whiten your teeth by up to 10 shades! If you have a wedding or special event coming up, this is the best way to drastically improve your smile. 

After placing a cheek retractor to hold your mouth open, a protective gel is applied to your soft tissue so they don’t become irritated or damaged. Then, the whitening agent is applied to each tooth and activated with UV light. After an hour, this is rinsed out to reveal your newly whitened teeth.

How Take-Home Teeth Whitening Works

Take-home whitening, unlike in-office whitening, is performed from the comfort of your own home (or wherever you want to wear your whitening trays). Instead of applying the whitening agent to your teeth and activating it with a light, we will take impressions of your teeth during a short appointment and send them to a dental lab. 

This dental lab will fabricate custom-made whitening trays for you to wear. It can take a few weeks for these trays to be ready but once we receive them, you can pick them up along with the whitening gel and instructions. 

You will apply the whitening gel to the inside of the trays and wear them over your teeth for the specified amount of time. You will need to wear these trays each day for about 1-2 weeks as specified by your dentist. 

This is because take-home whitening contains a lower concentration of peroxide to produce gradually whiter teeth with every use. However, this can produce very similar results to in-office whitening by the end of your treatment. It is also very convenient and is better suited for those with tooth sensitivity.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Yes, teeth whitening is completely safe when administered by a professional dentist or under the guidance of a professional dentist. You have nothing to worry about with in-office whitening, as you are in good hands and we are very precise with the amount of whitening gel we use and how long we leave it on your teeth. 

As long as you follow the directions for take-home whitening, you will also not run into any issues. A common side effect of teeth whitening is temporary tooth sensitivity from demineralization of the teeth. 

This will alleviate on its own within 48 hours, as your teeth remineralize. However, you can relieve any discomfort by using desensitizing gel and toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

How Often Can I Whiten My Teeth?

Teeth whitening is a temporary cosmetic treatment that wears off within 6 months to 3 years, depending on your diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene. Tooth stains start to build up over time from consuming staining foods and drinks or smoking. 

To prolong your whitening treatment, avoid these and get regular touch-ups every few months. You can get a whitening touch-up as soon as every 3 months, but it will vary from person to person. 

Get Whiter, Brighter Teeth Today at Montgomery Family Dental

Ready to revolutionize your smile and take the world by storm? Contact us at Montgomery Family Dental today to schedule a teeth whitening consultation with Dr. Katie Montgomery.

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