Whitening and Brightening Your Teeth

Whitening and Brightening Your Teeth

As a mom, you may have noticed your daughter struggling with her self esteem. While it could be acne, weight gain or hormones, there’s one other aspect you may be overlooking. How’s her smile? Is she proudly displaying her pearly whites or does she cover her mouth when she laughs?

Discolored Teeth

Discolored or yellow teeth could be a result of injury, infection or using too much fluoride. If whitening her teeth is something you are considering, here’s what you need to know.

White Strips

Drugstore products, like whitening strips, contain a lower concentration of the same bleaching agents dentists use. Store-bought whitening kits feature trays, whitening strips or paint-on gel. The higher the peroxide percentage on the film, the less time you need to place the strips on the teeth.

Whitening ToothPaste

Whitening toothpastes have a special chemical or polishing agent that provides additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, toothpaste does not alter the actual color of the tooth.

Whitening At The Dentist

In-office teeth whitening procedures performed by a cosmetic dentist provides results in one visit. A whitening gel is placed on the teeth before they are exposed to a laser. This method is one of the fastest procedures for whitening. Chair side bleaching may require more than one office visit, each one taking from 30 minutes to an hour. The process can whiten teeth by as many as 10 shades. In-office bleaching generally runs between $300 and $2,000, depending on the system used.

Custum Fit Bleaching Trays Provided By Your Dentist

Custom fit tray bleaching is a very common procedure because it’s easier and costs less than laser bleaching. Your dentist makes a custom fitted plastic tray and sends you home with bleaching gel. Typically, results are seen within two weeks. Some products are used twice a day for two weeks, while others should be worn overnight for 1-2 weeks.  Custom fit trays can also run between $300 and $2000.

Risks For Teens

Tooth whitening can lead to sensitivity and irritation along the gum line. Some dentists recommend that anyone younger than 16-years-old wait to bleach their teeth until later in adolescence because teens would experience more sensitivity. The Academy of General Dentistry advises teens to wait until the age of 14 to use whitening procedures. By this time, the tooth’s pulp is fully formed, which means a teenager will experience less sensitivity.

If your teenager still has a mix of teeth, whitening may not have a great result. Whitening all of the teeth may result in teeth being different shades of white. Colors can also change when the permanent teeth replace the primary teeth. It’s difficult to color correct the varying shades of white as teeth come in.

Guest Blog written by Jennifer Vishnevsky, a contributor to topdentists.com.