Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. When it is bright and cheery, it communicates health, happiness, and confidence. But when your teeth become stained and dark, your smile can make you look older and less confident than you truly are.
Over time, poor oral hygiene, medicine-induced discoloration, and exposure to foods and drinks such as coffee, wine, soft drinks, tea, and foods with dye can stain, darken, and discolor your teeth. Even if your teeth are perfectly healthy, they can appear damaged and make you look older. Fortunately, if you have deep stains or want to achieve a brighter smile quickly, Benton Family Dentistry in Hot Springs has teeth-whitening options that can help you acquire a beautiful, youthful-looking, bright smile.
Types of Tooth Stains
Tooth stains fall into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are the yellow and brown stains that occur on the surface of your teeth. Intrinsic stains occur inside your teeth, making them appear gray or blue. Some surface stains can be removed with whitening toothpastes and over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits. However, these approaches are limited and can be painful or can cause tooth and gum sensitivities. Professional-grade products are needed to remove deeper extrinsic and intrinsic stains and to treat individuals with sensitive teeth and gums.
Professional Teeth-Whitening Options
There are several teeth-whitening options available to patients. Over-the-counter whitening strips are the least effective, and results vary widely. At Benton Family Dentistry, we think custom-fabricated clear trays with whitening gel as well as in-office power bleaching are the most effective options available today.
Most teeth-whitening gels contain carbamide peroxide, which is less concentrated than hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide penetrates the porosities in the outer enamel layer of a tooth and breaks down stains within the second layer of tooth, dentin. Custom take-home trays are made for each individual patient and create a consistent delivery of whitening gel. Our office primarily prescribes ZOOM! Whitening gel, which has peroxide in addition to several other components that help to desensitize teeth after whitening.
Our Whitening System
We use the ZOOM! Whitening system to help you achieve a bright, white smile either in the convenience of your own home in our office.
When done at home with customized whitening trays that are worn for up to 30 minutes two times a day, patients typically see results within two days. Our in-office power or ZOOM! whitening option involves two appointments: the first is the initial consult to determine expectations and stability of teeth before whitening, take upper and lower impressions to make custom trays for future whitening touch-ups, and pre-op desensitizing of teeth. The second appointment takes about one hour and involves up to three 15-minute whitening sessions with our LED light, which activates components in the gel to expedite the whitening process. On average, teeth will become up to five shades lighter.
Tooth whitening can be done on any patient above the age of 16 with no cavities or gum disease, and it’s a great conservative option to improve your smile and increase your self-esteem.
Q: How much does teeth whitening cost?
A: The cost of teeth whitening varies according to the type of treatment you are receiving and how deep your stains are. At Benton Family Dentistry, we will work with you to find an affordable whitening treatment that is right for you.
Q: Are teeth-whitening results permanent?
A: The longevity of your teeth-whitening results depends greatly on how you care for your teeth after the treatment, as well as on how often you indulge in food and drink that causes stains. Results can last anywhere from several months to three years.
Q: Are there any risks or side effects associated with teeth whitening?
A: Gums and teeth may become sensitive during your treatments.