Whitening Los Angeles

Teeth whitening products are everywhere.  Whitening toothpastes, gels, and strips are available over the counter, and you can also obtain whitening agents from your dentist. Tooth whitening is best suited for patients who have no fillings and who have healthy gums.

Teeth Whitening Toothpastes

While the abrasives in all toothpastes help to remove surface stains from teeth, whitening toothpastes do a bit more.  Some contain gentle polishing agents or chemicals that can enhance stain removal.  However, they remove surface stains only and they do not contain bleach.  Generally, they can lighten teeth about one shade.

Over the Counter Teeth Whitening Agents

All toothpastes help remove surface stains because they contain mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach; over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that helps lighten the color deep in the tooth.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels

Whitening strips and gels contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that helps to lighten staining below the surface.  Gels are peroxide based and are applied directly to the tooth surface.  After a few days, initial results are seen, and the product is usually used for about 2 weeks.

Whitening strips are thin strips coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel and are usually applied for 30 minutes twice a day for two weeks.

Whitening Rinses

Teeth whitening rinses are only in contact with teeth for about 2 minutes a day, and they are generally less effective than gels, strips, or pastes.  While they freshen breath, help reduce gum disease, and help reduce plaque, they also include whiteners.

Teeth Whitening Trays

Tray-based tooth whitening systems are available from your dentist or over the counter.  This process involves filling a tray with a gel whitening solution and wearing it like a mouth guard for a specified period of time.  The degree of staining and the desired whitening outcome determine the length of time worn, but generally they are used for about 4 weeks.

Dental Office Teeth Whitening

The fastest way to whiten teeth is through a bleaching process performed in the dental office.  In this process, whitening product is applied directly to the teeth.  The material is allowed to remain on the teeth for 20 minute intervals.   Light-activated whitening done in the dental office can lighten teeth several shades.  This  results can be seen after just one half hour to hour long treatment.  Several appointments may be needed, depending on the desired results.

Is Teeth Whitening Permanent?

In short, no.  While people who avoid foods and beverages that may stain the teeth, such as coffee and red wine, and smoking, can enjoy results for about a year or longer, teeth whitening will require touch-ups.

Risks of Teeth Whitening

The best way to avoid any risks associated with teeth whitening agents is to use them under your dentist’s supervision.  Your dentist can assess your overall oral health to determine what products are safe and effective for your needs and can provide protection to your gums that over the counter strips, gels, and pastes do not provide.

Who Should Avoid Teeth Whitening?

Certain medical and dental conditions are contraindicated for teeth whitening.  Bleaching is not recommended for children under 16 or for pregnant or lactating women.  People with sensitive teeth and gums, receding gums, or an allergy to peroxide should not use a bleaching product.

Patients with worn enamel, exposed gums, exposed roots, and cavities should not use a whitening treatment.  Fillings, crowns, bonding, and veneers will not respond well to whitening agents.

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