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Teeth Whitening

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth bleaching products brighten teeth that have been stained or darkened by food, tobacco use, age or injury. There are a variety of in-office and take-home teeth whitening products to reduce or eliminate such stains. In-office bleaching, also called chairside bleaching, takes place over a series of one-hour appointments at Dr. Garza’s Gilbert, AZ office.

Am I a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?

Most people are excellent candidates for professional teeth whitening. However, a thorough dental examination and consultation are conducted before we recommend a whitening procedure. This is because dental restorations like crowns, tooth-colored fillings and veneers will not whiten. Additionally, if the gums are inflamed due to gingivitis, the whitening agent may cause further irritation and unnecessary discomfort.

If your teeth are dull or yellow and you can commit to a dental exam and cleaning before whitening treatment, we would love to speak with you about the value of professional teeth whitening. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend that you postpone your consultation until your journey into motherhood is complete.

Teeth Whitening Benefits

Teeth Whitening Gilbert AZThe primary benefit of professional teeth whitening is obvious: you get to feel better about your smile. However, studies suggest that this improvement leads to others. People who whiten their teeth do feel better about their smile, which means they feel better about their appearance. This increases self-confidence. Subsequently, increased confidence can have a positive effect on interpersonal relationships.

According to research findings, cosmetic enhancement of the smile such as teeth whitening can lead to greater professional and social success. Furthermore, the results of teeth whitening stimulate heightened commitment to oral care in many patients, leading to the additional benefit of better oral health.

In-Office Teeth Bleaching Process

First, your teeth will be examined and cleaned to make sure there are no cavities, loose fillings, gum problems or other issues that may be exacerbated by the bleaching process. You and your dentist will make a custom-fit mouthtray for your teeth. Then the bleaching gel, a hydrogen peroxide solution, is applied to your teeth in the tray, sometimes after another gel or rubber shield is fit over the gums to protect them. An ultraviolet light may be shone on the teeth to facilitate the process.

Benefits of In-Office Teeth Whitening

Advantages of in-office teeth whitening over take-home whitening include:

    • Professional supervision
    • Fast
    • Safe and simple
    • Reduced Sensitivity

Teeth Whitening Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a well-known side effect of professional teeth whitening. This stems from the higher concentration of bleaching agent in medical-grade peroxide solutions. The amount of peroxide is necessary, though, to achieve the desired outcome, which is a more radiant smile.

During teeth whitening, the applied bleaching agent reduces the invisible biofilm that protects enamel from damage. Peroxide then permeates the tiny dental tubules that exist between the pulp chamber and the outer layer of enamel.  Reduction and penetration are necessary to break apart the particles of debris that have caused discoloration to occur. However, this is also the reason why tooth sensitivity may occur during or after teeth whitening. Since Dr. Garza uses a laser for teeth whitening the procedure is done in 20 minutes with reduced sensitivity. The way Dr. Garza uses the laser for teeth whitening makes it the least sensitive way to do.

Managing Sensitive Teeth

Having sensitive teeth doesn’t exclude you from also having a great smile. Professional teeth whitening has improved quite a bit since its initial use. Techniques are more accurate and products often contain desensitizing agents to offset the high concentration of peroxide. Additionally, specific strategies can help reduce the risk of sensitivity. These include:
  • Start using toothpaste for sensitive teeth before teeth whitening and continue after treatment.
  • Let toothpaste sit on teeth for a few minutes to increase effectiveness.
  • Take a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory before teeth whitening treatment. Use this medication as directed for the first 48 hours after teeth whitening.
  • After teeth whitening, consume tepid foods that are neither hot nor cold.
  • Brush and rinse with lukewarm water if sensitivity occurs.

Risks of Teeth Whitening

The risks of professional teeth whitening are minimal. Before conducting this procedure, we perform a thorough examination to ensure there are no dental conditions that may react to the bleaching agent. If Dr. Garza finds cavities, gingivitis, or gum disease during the initial examination, he will repair these problems before conducting teeth whitening.

Also, it is imperative to discuss how to handle existing visible restorations such as veneers, crowns, or bonding. Dental materials including porcelain and composite resin are not porous and therefore will not whiten. To achieve the best result from teeth whitening, it may be necessary to either color-match existing restorations or replace them to match the lighter shade of teeth.

Teeth Whitening Results

The results of professional teeth whitening can last several years. However, this is dependent on oral care and lifestyle habits. Patients who smoke or consume foods and beverages known to cause discoloration may need to undergo maintenance treatments more frequently. It may be possible to prolong the results of teeth whitening by brushing and flossing every day and obtaining professional teeth-cleaning every six months to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

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