How Professional Teeth Whitening Works

How Professional Teeth Whitening Works

You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that the teeth whitening business is huge — in 2019, it was valued in the billions. All that money is powered by a lot of people who want to brighten their smile, around 40 million Americans every year. 

If you want to get your teeth whitened, there are plenty of options. Countless over-the-counter options for whitening dot the shelves at your local pharmacy, and that’s before you count in all of the promises made by toothpastes and mouthwashes. 

But the best option for long-lasting whitening is actually at your dentist's office. Whether for an in-office whitening or a take-home kit, nothing can give you the shining smile of a professional whitening. 

Are you looking to make your smile a little brighter and whiter? If so, come visit our team at Willow Glen Dental Care in San Jose, California. We’re proud to offer state-of-the-art and comprehensive dental care for your whole family. In this blog, Danielle Wehle, DDS, and George Kuo, DDS, discuss how teeth become stained, who is a good candidate for whitening, and what to expect.

Why teeth lose their shine

Tooth discoloration can happen to anyone as they age. Your tooth enamel wears down over time, and the dentin below, which is naturally a brownish-grey, can start to show through. 

Furthermore, plenty of popular foods and drinks, like colas, coffee, red wine, potatoes, and apples can stain your teeth and give them a yellow or brown hue. If you smoke or don’t take care of your teeth, they will often turn brown. 

Can I get my teeth whitened?

Most people can get their teeth professionally whitened, especially considering that our team will be there to make sure you get the results you need safely. However, those with tooth and gum hypersensitivity will need to consult with us to discuss the concentration of the whitening solution that they can handle. 

Those with deep and intractable staining may find that a professional whitening can’t give them the shine they want. In that case, veneers or crowns may be a better option. Additionally, if your teeth have become more transparent with age, a professional whitening will probably not be lasting or impactful. 

What to expect — in-office treatments

The most popular form of professional teeth whitening is an in-office treatment performed by our team. To start your appointment, we review your current tooth color and what shade you’d like to achieve. 

Your teeth will then be cleaned and polished to make sure they're smooth. Once your gums are protected, your teeth are coated with a whitening solution, usually hydrogen peroxide. Our team will then use a special light or laser to activate the solution. 

In total, you can expect to be in the chair for about 90 minutes. You may need to schedule future visits to achieve your desired shade. 

What to expect — at-home kits 

If you don’t have the time to go through an in-office treatment or worry about gum and teeth sensitivity, take-home trays may be a good option. With at-home treatments, a member of our team will take an impression of your mouth that will be used to make a custom tray. 

Once you have your tray, you’ll spread a whitening gel into it before wearing it for a set amount of time, usually between 2 and 10 hours every day for a few weeks. 

Because the treatment is done at home, the whitening gel is similar to what’s found in boxed options. However, the custom tray fits perfectly on your teeth, keeping the gel in place and helping it reach the nooks and crannies that other whitening products can’t reach. 

To learn more about professional teeth whitening, book an appointment online or over the phone with Willow Glen Dental Care today.

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