Flip through any magazine or visit an Instagram influencer’s profile, and what do you see? Picture after picture of brilliantly white smiles! While we never recommend comparing yourself to people on social media, it is easy to get discouraged. How do these people manage to have such white teeth? Some of it is undoubtedly photo editing. But with cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening at our Dallas, TX, office, it is definitely possible to have a much brighter and more youthful smile.
Drs. Shaun Sigurdson and Mihil Patel offer two effective types of teeth whitening. When you visit Lakewood Dental Group, we will take as much time as you need to answer all your questions and to recommend an appropriate whitening solution.
You deserve a photo-ready smile you are proud to share with the world. Contact our Dallas office today to learn more about teeth whitening.
Am I a whitening candidate?
If you wish to reduce stains on the surface of your teeth, you are likely a candidate for teeth whitening. On the other hand, if internal stains are your primary concern, whitening will not be effective. However, we can recommend a different treatment for this type of discoloration, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Before you can receive teeth whitening, your dentist will need to check your overall oral health. Decay or other conditions will not necessarily exclude you from whitening, but you should have these conditions treated before you undergo cosmetic care.
What types of whitening do you offer?
Our Dallas practice offers in-office and take-home whitening. In-office whitening uses a peroxide-based gel, applied directly to the teeth. The peroxide breaks down stains, leaving teeth up to eight shades brighter.
Take-home whitening uses a less concentrated version of this peroxide gel. Instead of applying it directly to your teeth, you will fill customized whitening trays with the gel, wearing the trays for a set amount of time each day. Results are typically comparable to in-office treatment.
Which type should I choose?
Since both types of whitening are effective, the kind you select will depend on other factors. First, consider your timeline. In-office whitening requires just one office visit, and you will leave with noticeably whiter teeth. If you choose take-home whitening, you will need to visit the office so your dentist can take impressions for your trays. Then once they are finished, you will need to wear the trays for about two weeks before you see the final results.
Second, determine your budget. Take-home whitening usually costs less than in-office treatment.
Finally, evaluate your oral health. Your dentist may recommend one treatment over another, depending on your current level of dental sensitivity.
Can’t I just buy a whitening kit at the drugstore?
Yes, but the results won’t be nearly as effective. Over-the-counter whitening kits typically contain much weaker whitening gels. Stronger solutions do exist, but these are often too strong. Without your dentist’s supervision, they can cause serious damage to your teeth and gums.
What about homeopathic solutions, like charcoal?
You can find a number of all-natural whitening hacks online. But claims of their effectiveness are doubtful. Some methods are downright harmful! Some of the more popular protocol include:
- Charcoal: All the rage in health food circles, charcoal is said to whiten teeth. But a literature review published by the Journal of the American Dental Association found insufficient evidence to support these claims.
- Oil pulling: Similarly, proponents of oil pulling claim that swishing your mouth with a tablespoon of edible oil can break down stains. Although this practice has a centuries’ old history in alternative medicine, the American Dental Association warns that there is no scientific foundation for this method.
- Baking soda: Baking soda can certainly break down stains. But self-treatment using baking soda is likely to damage your tooth enamel. You can use toothpaste containing baking soda (as long as it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance), but you will not have the same dramatic results as if you had undergone Dallas teeth whitening treatment.
- Hydrogen peroxide: If whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, couldn’t you just purchase this chemical yourself and concoct a whitening solution? In fact, this could be quite dangerous for your teeth and gums, as levels of hydrogen peroxide should be carefully controlled.
What are the side effects of teeth whitening?
Typically, the only noticeable symptom of teeth whitening is some minor to moderate dental sensitivity. For most patients, this goes away a few days after treatment. Medication is not typically required, but if your sensitivity is bothering you, you could take some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.
How long will the results last?
Teeth whitening will permanently remove existing stains, but the treatment can’t keep new stains from appearing. Generally, professional whitening results will last between one and three years. Drs. Sigurdson and Patel can provide regular touch-ups, which are safe as long as you follow their schedule and instructions.
How can I keep stains from coming back?
You can keep your teeth looking white longer by practicing good dental hygiene, brushing and flossing daily. You should also visit the dentist regularly for cleanings. These practices will help to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar, which are partially responsible for dental discoloration.
You can also maintain your whitening results by modifying your diet. Heavily pigmented foods and beverages leave dark colored molecules behind. That is why coffee, red wine, tea, berries, tomato sauce, and similar products can darken your smile. Furthermore, acidic items, like citrus and soda, can wear down tooth enamel. Since enamel is whiter than the underlying dentin, this will automatically make your teeth duller. Plus, dentin is porous, meaning food molecules can more easily stain your teeth in the future.
Contact Us to Learn More about Teeth Whitening
Still have questions? Ready to schedule your teeth whitening? Contact our Dallas office today!
You can visit our online scheduling platform or call us at 214-827-1885.