At Library Park Dental we treat everyone individually because there are several different treatment approaches to tooth whitening. It is only in the last few decades that people have been able to change the color of their teeth with over the counter products, but archaeologists indicate that the ancient Romans used urine in order to make teeth whiter! Thankfully, as technology has improved there are many more products to choose from in order to lighten your teeth.
Current whitening products fall into several categories: Professional/In-office treatments, over the counter bleaching, and whitening toothpaste.
The professional bleaching agents used by your dentists in your dental office are stronger than those you can purchase over the counter. This means that your teeth can lighten more shades in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, your gum tissues are protected either through the use of a rubber dam or a gel that is applied to the gums in order to keep the active ingredients from the irritating tender gum tissue.
Over the counter, products come as gels that are placed on the teeth via strips or put in trays that fit over the teeth. There are also rinses/mouthwashes. The concentration of active ingredients varies depending on the product used. The strips and trays should be carefully fit in order to not irritate gum tissue and keep the gel on the enamel of the teeth. The rinses are relatively low concentration but can still irritate mucosa like the cheeks. Results from over the counter products can vary widely, with some people seeing good improvement and others seeing very little results or no results at all.
Whitening toothpaste has a polishing or chemical agent that removes surface stains. While this polishing removes stains, it does not alter the basic color of the teeth. It simply removes additional staining from coffee, tea, wine, or smoking. Whitening toothpaste is safe for daily use if you follow the directions, but excessive use of this type of toothpaste can irritate and may cause problems with enamel over time.
Chronic whitening or failing to follow instructions can lead to gum irritation and increased tooth sensitivity. Desensitizing toothpaste can help, and most of the time the irritation or sensitivity stops when the person stops using the bleaching products.
If you have very sensitive teeth, gum disease, or worn enamel, you should check with your dentist and your dental team before attempting to bleach your teeth to find out which products would be best for you. Bleaching agents do not work well on fillings, crowns, or very dark stains. Let your family dentist here at Library Park Dental in Kenosha help you find a product that will work well for you!