In any situation, your first impression is based on your appearance. A clean, white smile conveys attention to detail, confidence, and care about the influence you have on others. If your teeth have stains related to tobacco use, wine intake, coffee or soda drinking, medications, or other reasons, you may not present yourself confidently in social or business settings. Teeth whitening may be an option for you to return your teeth to their optimal appearance.
There are many whitening ingredients available in stores. Toothpastes, rinses, strips, and even special toothbrushes are aimed at providing you with whiter teeth. All of these may provide a small change in shade of your teeth, however, none of them are strong enough to achieve the results that can be attained in the dentist’s office.
Products that are provided by a dental professional are more effective and achieve results much faster than whitening with over-the-counter whitening products. Dr. Schmidt will discuss with you the at-home versus in-office whitening products to help decide which is best based on your specific goals and desires. If you choose at-home or in-office whitening, Dr. Schmidt will need to evaluate your overall oral health to ensure that your teeth and gums are in good condition and that they will not incur any damage related to the whitening agents.
Once it is established that you are a good candidate, molds will be taken of your teeth for at-home whitening. These molds will be used to create custom trays for whitening treatment. You will discuss your expectations for the shade you want for the final result of your whitening. Remember, you want whiter teeth, but natural white – not a blinding white.
Our office uses Zoom DayWhite and NiteWhite at-home whitening systems. Significant whitening will occur within one to two weeks. The at-home treatment contains whitening agents which are stronger than over the counter treatments and are administered by special trays that are custom fitted to your mouth so that all of the surfaces of your teeth are covered equally. Directions will be thoroughly explained so that you are completely informed and prepared to use the kit at home. It is not unusual to have some tooth sensitivity following tooth whitening procedures, but product advances make this less likely than in the past. Dr. Schmidt will continue to monitor you throughout treatment to ensure your satisfaction with the results.
Occasionally, Dr. Schmidt will provide treatment in the office. If this is the case, prior to the treatment, your gums are protected with gel or a shield and then the whitening agent is applied. Often the process is accelerated with the use of a UV light. Treatment will take, on average, one hour. Usually the front teeth are the focus of the in-office procedure, with a follow up prescribed maintenance program and products to sustain the effects of the whitening and for touchups when needed.
Over time, your teeth may begin to appear discolored again, especially if you smoke, drink coffee or red wine, or consume other staining foods. Whitening is not permanent. Changing some of the habits that lead to discoloring will help. Your at-home whitening routine may need to be repeated with Dr. Schmidt’s approval.