Teeth whitening has become one of the most requested forms of cosmetic dentistry, including in our own Monroe, NC dental office. We know that patients feel more confident with a white smile, and offer professional tooth whitening at Monroe Family Dentistry. While it is entirely possible to do at-home whitening, is it safer, faster, and more effective when done under dental supervision.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening removes stains and discoloration on teeth caused by trauma or buildup from certain foods and beverages like red wine. Whitening the teeth is a stain removal process that involves using safe bleaching products.
This is a painless procedure that can be done with a one-day in-office visit. Keep in mind though that maintaining whiter teeth long term requires regular dental visits.
At Home vs In-Office Treatments
Teeth Whitening at Home
An overwhelming number of products exist on the market that allow individuals to whiten their teeth at home. Some of these products include whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, bleaching gels, trays, rinses, and more.
In general, over-the-counter teeth whitening products are safe, though because they are not considered drugs, they are not regulated by the FDA. Others are also not approved by the ADA. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not safe to use, it’s best to consult your dentist if you prefer to do at-home treatment.
The room for error is greater when using whitening solutions purchased over-the-counter. If instructions are not followed exactly, they can be administered incorrectly and take up to four weeks before noticing results.
Dentist-Supervised Whitening Treatments
Dentist-supervised treatments offer faster and more accurate results than at-home treatments. Aside from accurate application technique, we can use a stronger whitening agent than what is available in stores.
Treatments available for at-home use or those dentist-supervised at-home products contain a lower strength bleaching agent—10% to 22% carbamide peroxide with a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide. In-office treatments contain hydrogen peroxide in concentrations ranging from 15% to 43%. For more immediate results, in-office treatment is the quickest option.
Prior to beginning treatment, Dr. Mjahed will review your oral health history and perform an oral examination to help determine whether or not teeth whitening is an appropriate course of treatment your specific needs, health, and lifestyle.
At Monroe Family Dentistry, we offer a few options for cosmetic teeth whitening under dental supervision. One takes place entirely in our office, while the other allows you to use a product at home as you like.
In-office Whitening Procedures
With in-office procedures, we create a continuing teeth whitening treatment plan to keep those teeth pearly white. Your visit will likely look something like this:
You’ll come to our office for a series of 60-90-minute visits where Dr. Mjahed will apply a high concentration whitening agent to your teeth. He will then use a light to expedite the chemical reaction to start the process.
Custom Whitening Trays
For those patients who prefer to have the benefit of supervised whitening at home, custom trays are the answer. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to create a custom whitening tray for home use. Since the tray fits your teeth exactly we can ensure minimal contact with the gum tissue and maximum contact between the gel and the teeth. This means lower risk for misuse and faster results, compared to over-the-counter treatments.
To use, simply purchase the whitening gel we provide, apply the gel to the trays and wear for several hours or overnight. You can reuse this tray repeatedly as long as you like.
Why Choose In-Office Treatment?
In-office treatments provide better protection to sensitive areas like the gums or teeth with cavities because your dentist will apply a protective gel or shield prior to treatment. Over-the-counter products do not provide these protective measures and can cause side effects such as tooth sensitivity, tooth damage, and pain if not applied correctly.
Patients with any of the following should refrain from in-home treatments and seek a professional:
- Sensitive teeth
- White spots or decay present on the teeth
- Gum disease
- A bridge, crown, or other custom dental work
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- GERD or acid erosion present on teeth
Pediatric Dentist in Monroe NC
Monroe Family Dentistry is there for you and your children from day one and we are happy to work with you and your child to start habits from birth. If you live near Monroe, NC call us to schedule an appointment today at 704.776.4278.