Is your smile as bright as it can be? Teeth whitening is probably the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. While you can whiten teeth with over-the-counter products, professional whitening with our dentists offers the quickest, easiest, safest and most effective results. Make an appointment today to talk to one of our skilled dentists — and start the journey to a brighter, whiter smile in just a few weeks!
What is Teeth Whitening?
A popular cosmetic dental procedure, teeth whitening or bleaching is a relatively easy way to achieve a brighter smile and improve the way you look and feel. The teeth are lightened and stains and discolorations removed. To maintain your brighter smile, the procedure must be repeated periodically.
Why Teeth Need to be Whitened
Tooth discoloration has many causes. Common causes include:
- Drinking dark liquids (such as cola, coffee, tea and red wine)
- Tobacco use
- Trauma to the teeth
- Poor dental hygiene
- The aging process
Whitening is effective on these extrinsic, or external, stains. Intrinsic stains, those that are inside the tooth, may be caused by overexposure to fluoride during childhood or certain medications, like tetracycline antibiotics; these are more difficult to remove.
Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Procedures
Teeth can be whitened with over-the-counter (OTC) kits or dentist-supervised procedures. While widely available, OTC gel or strip kits don’t guarantee long-term results. They are less effective and, if overused, may cause damage to your gums and mouth. Teeth bleaching should always be performed under the supervision of a dentist.
Dentist-Supervised vs. Over-the-Counter Systems
Dentist-supervised teeth bleaching can be performed in the office or undertaken at home by the patient. Dental-supervised methods are preferred to OTC systems for a couple of reasons: Research has shown that the best tooth whitening treatments involve using stronger bleach strengths than OTC systems offer. The gel provided by your dentist contains a stronger, more concentrated peroxide formulation, and so it whitens better and faster.
Another issue involves the use of mouthpiece trays in the whitening process. These trays are filled with the bleaching solution and then kept in place over the teeth for a period of time. An OTC tray-based system comes with a “one-size-fits-all” mouth tray. An ill-fitting tray allows the gel to seep into gums and soft tissues, causing irritation and sensitivity. Your dentist can customize a tray to fit your teeth precisely, allowing maximum contact between the bleach and your teeth.
What We Offer: Dentist-Supervised At-Home Treatment
Dentist-supervised at-home bleaching typically requires the bleach to be applied for several hours every day or overnight for several weeks. This is supported by research showing that the best whitening method involves keeping the bleach on the teeth for more than a few hours. Before undergoing at-home bleaching, your dentist takes impressions of your upper and lower teeth and then makes a custom bleaching tray that is perfectly molded to your teeth. A close fit keeps the bleaching agent in direct contact with your teeth, maximizing whitening while minimizing gel contact with your gum tissue.
A McLean DDS-supervised in-home tray-based system is the best solution, which is why we recommend it. Our at-home bleaching-in-the-custom-made tray is not only less expensive than in-office or laser bleaching, but it lasts longer and typically creates less sensitivity for your teeth. Therefore, we offer our patients optimal bleaching chances using our custom-made bleach trays — a teeth-whitening system custom-made just for you!