This page can help you understand how teeth whitening works, but if you want to learn how it can improve the appearance of your smile, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today for an appointment.
How Teeth Whitening Works
The staining in your teeth is most often residue from foods, drinks, and environmental pollutants that become trapped in the enamel of your teeth. Teeth whitening uses a powerful activated form of oxygen to break down and remove those staining compounds, leaving your teeth whiter. We can apply the compound in-office for a quick boost of whitening, let you do the whitening at home, or both.
If you choose the in-office treatment, our team will apply professional strength teeth whitening gel to your teeth. This high-strength whitening gel also includes minerals that strengthen your teeth and reduce sensitivity. In about an hour, you will see a significant difference in the whiteness of your teeth.
We recommend that you supplement the in-office whitening with take-home treatments for achieving and maintaining the maximum whiteness your teeth can attain. You’ll leave with an Opalescence home teeth whitening kit, which includes custom trays and a supply of teeth whitening gel to lighten your smile. Wear the trays a few hours a day until you achieve your desired shade, which usually takes about two weeks.
Teeth Whitening with a Dentist vs. Over-the-Counter Whiteners
There are many teeth whitening products available at your local drug store, and these have been shown to safely provide some level of whitening when properly used according to the directions. However, there are many reasons why teeth whitening at your dentist is superior.
Effectiveness: In-office whitening uses stronger whitening compounds than those available at the store, leading to better results more quickly. Many whitening treatments also lose most of their effectiveness when the compounds mix with your saliva. Ill-fitting strips and trays can also whiten unevenly, giving unattractive-looking results.
Comfort: The custom-made trays at your dentist’s office give a better fit than the trays or strips you buy at the store. This not only makes them feel better on your teeth, it protects the whitening compounds to increase effectiveness.
Your dentist can also change the whitening formula if you experience tooth sensitivity to give you great results without discomfort.
Safety: Properly used, teeth whiteners are safe for your teeth, but they can irritate and damage your gums. Custom-fitting trays and professional application keep the compounds on your teeth where they belong.