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Teeth Whitening

Sometimes the smile that you have isn’t necessarily the smile that you want. Teeth that are stained, yellow, or just less-than-white aren’t necessarily unhealthy teeth, but they can make you feel self-conscious around others and less willing to show your full smile. Whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, and online teeth whitening kits can only whiten your teeth so much, leaving with you no other option than to hide what you have.

If the color of your smile is affecting your confidence, take-home or in-office teeth whitening services from Monarch Dental can help you wipe away years of stains caused by:

  • A diet of food and beverages high in acidities like coffee, tea, and wine.
  • The use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping devices.
  • The impact of aging on tooth enamel.
  • The effects of stress and trauma.
  • Previous use of certain prescribed and over-the-counter medication such as antibiotics.
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How does professional teeth whitening work?

All teeth whitening products work in the same basic way–bleaching chemicals applied to the teeth penetrate the porous enamel and break apart stains or discolorations through a chemical reaction. Professional teeth whitening treatments like those from Monarch Dental, however, use a higher concentration of stronger bleaching agents to get rid of very deep (intrinsic) and stubborn stains that are resistant to many over-the-counter whitening products.

Professional teeth whitening is available via two methods. You can receive dentist-supervised treatment with an in-office appointment or pick up a convenient–and custom-fitted–take-home teeth whitening kit. Here’s how each one works.

At-home teeth whitening

At-home teeth whitening kits are different from those found online or in retail stores because, not only do they use prescription-strength bleaching agents, but they also use trays that are custom-fitted to your teeth, ensuring the most even and effective distribution of the chemicals. Created from a mold the dentist takes of your mouth, the trays also help keep the whitening chemicals from coming in contact with your gums, tongue, or other oral tissue.

At-home teeth whitening is a great option for people who:

  • Don’t have the time for in-office whitening, which can take up to two hours
  • Aren’t comfortable in the dentist’s office
  • Have more sensitivity teeth
  • Want to whiten their teeth gradually

In-office teeth whitening

In-office teeth whitening–also called chairside or dentist-supervised whitening–is performed right in your dentist’s office and produces the best, fastest whitening results–up to 10 shades brighter in one appointment for some people! 

During an in-office whitening appointment, prescription-strength bleaching agents are applied to your teeth. (To protect your gums and tongue, the dentist will place a cheek retractor in your mouth and use a liquid rubber dam to layer a protective gel over your gums.) Once the bleach has been applied, the dentist shines a UV light on your teeth to activate the chemicals and speed up the whitening. Then, the dentist will take a shade measurement to compare with one taken before the session to assess the results. To reach your desired shade, the process can be repeated one or two more times in one appointment, or over the course of several appointments. 

In-office teeth whitening is best for people who:

  • Want immediate and/or dramatic results
  • Don’t want to bother with trays and chemicals at home
  • Want the safest possible application of whitening agents
  • Have very deep, stubborn stains

A consultation with your dentist can help you decide which whitening treatment is best for your unique situation. 

Are teeth whitening treatments for me?

Before considering professional teeth whitening, be sure to schedule a cleaning first. During routine teeth cleanings, a dental hygienist uses special tools to scrape away tartar and plaque buildup from your teeth, sticky substances that can cause discoloration. The hygienist will also clean and polish your teeth with a strong toothpaste. For some people, a professional cleaning is enough to dramatically improve the appearance of their smile. For others, it’s just not enough. If you aren’t happy with what you see after a dental cleaning, talk to your dentist about your best options for whitening your teeth.  

Teeth whitening is one of the most common procedures performed in dental offices outside of routine dental cleanings and is safe for most patients over the age of 16 and with good dental health. However, there are a number of reasons why your dentist may not recommend professional teeth whitening for you, at least for the time being.

Some reasons teeth whitening may not be for you:

  • Multiple or certain types of restorations–like implants, dentures, crowns, or fillings–because teeth whitening treatments will not change their color, making them stand out from the rest of your natural teeth.
  • Gum disease or tooth decay, conditions that need to be treated before you can receive any kind of cosmetic dentistry treatments. The chemicals used in professional teeth whitening can cause damage, pain, and irritation to receded, swollen, or infected gums caused by gum disease and to the exposed dentin of teeth with cavities.
  • Sensitive teeth that could be irritated by the strong chemicals used in professional teeth whitening. You may need to reduce some of your sensitivity first with measures like fluoride treatments or using sensitivity toothpaste.
  • Stains caused by taking certain antibiotics like tetracycline, because they cannot be reversed, even with professional whitening. Your dentist may recommend veneers or crowns to correct stains like these.

Teeth whitening is also not recommended for women who are pregnant or lactating.

I just had my teeth professionally whitened; now what?

While professional whitening treatment can yield dramatic results and dramatically improve confidence, you’ll still need to follow good oral hygiene to keep your new, whiter smile shining brightly. You may also need additional sessions in the future to maintain your desired shade. To get the most of of your whitening treatment, be sure to:

  • Avoid or limit dark-colored or acidic beverages like coffee, red wine, and dark beer, or use a straw if you are drinking them.
  • Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once.
  • Stop using tobacco, nicotine, or vape products.
  • Get a professional dental cleaning twice a year.

Are there any side effects to professional teeth whitening?

Because whitening treatments use chemicals to brighten your teeth, you may experience some temporary sensitivity in your gums or teeth to very hot or cold foods and beverages. You may also notice slight irritation on your gums, lips, or tongue–any sensitive oral tissue that may have accidentally come into contact with the bleaching agents. Any symptoms typically subside These symptoms within 48 hours of treatment, but if they last a little longer, you may need over-the-counter medication and/or sensitivity toothpaste to manage the discomfort. 

Whiten Your Teeth and Brighten Your Smile with Monarch Dental

Monarch Dental is your local, affordable choice for comprehensive dental services, including cosmetic dentistry procedures like professional teeth whitening. With multiple retail locations, flexible financing, and convenient scheduling options, Monarch Dental makes it easy for you to get the smile of your dreams. Find the Monarch Dental location nearest you and schedule a consultation today!