Thinking about whitening your teeth, but have questions? Are you unsure what method gets the best results or which one is right for you? Are you concerned about stories of tooth sensitivity during bleaching or worried about rumors that bleaching hurts your enamel?
Rest assured, modern bleaching does not hurt your enamel or strip your teeth. It works by generating oxygen which bleaches out “lifestyle stains” (food, tea, wine, smoke), as well as certain congenital enamel discolorations. All bleaching has the potential to cause some tooth sensitivity during the process, but WE ARE PROS at managing this. It’s never a problem and always goes away when you are done bleaching. We’ve been doing this for years and can help you choose the whitening technique that is best suited to your lifestyle, budget, tooth type and coloration. Bleaching your teeth allows you to have the white bright smile you’ve always dreamt of at a fraction of the cost of a single veneer for just one tooth.
Teeth Whitening Options
My Southfield Dental Office endorses four tooth whitening techniques:
- In-office ZOOM! brand whitening
- Professionally supervised at-home bleaching with custom made “Deep Bleaching” trays
- A combination of the two previously mentioned treatments: ZOOM! followed by tray bleaching at home
- Some over-the-counter whitening products
We pair the ZOOM! whitening agent with an extremely bright light source that lightens the teeth to the desired shade. This isn’t a laser, but does the trick. We’re very careful to monitor application to avoid tooth and gum sensitivity in our patients. In-office whitening provides the quickest and most uniform results. It typically achieves 60-70 percent of each client’s potential dental whiteness by itself, but then when combined with home bleaching trays, it “jump starts” additional whitening.
Patients who choose our in-home bleaching option without ZOOM! may get similar results, but it takes much longer. This method incorporates highly active bleach gel, customized “Deep Bleaching” dental trays and weekly or biweekly in-office visits. We charge $450 for the trays, an unlimited number of interim coaching office visits, and enough bleach to get you to the point of satisfaction with results. Once you’re done with the initial bleaching you can purchase touch-up bleach as needed from us – at cost. You simply use it with your dental trays one to two times after each of your hygiene visits. This will help address new stains and slow the gradual relapse which inevitably occurs over the months and years that follow your primary bleaching session.
I find that the combination of in-office ZOOM! whitening, followed by custom tray bleaching at home for two to six weeks, works best. We charge $600 for this dual-level service, and like the in-home bleaching described above, it includes unlimited bleach and office visits until you are happy. Patients are generally blown away by the results of this combo. Be aware that the older you are, the longer it takes to whiten your teeth. Folks with tetracycline staining take the longest. We generally don’t bleach the teeth of teens younger than 16.
Any style of whitening may result in temporary mild tooth sensitivity or sore gums. These side effects can be minimized or eliminated with careful application of the whitening agent and the well-fitting dental trays we make. Analgesic gel – delivered through our trays – provides relief, too. The sensitivity is short term and alwaysgoes away once bleaching is completed. Many times it never even occurs. But if it does, we have all sorts of tricks to take care of this. So, no worries!
Drug-store teeth-whitening options include gels, trays, strips and paints. These products provide modest results, but will not be as dramatic as professionally assisted whitening. Some patients get moderate results, but some get very little change. Be aware that the strips are only long enough to reach the six or eight teeth in front. I think the strips are generally the easiest to use. They minimize mess, and you are less likely to swallow the whitening agent or get it on your gums. The strips must be reapplied periodically to maintain whatever level of whiteness you were able to achieve. They are somewhat unpredictable but relatively inexpensive. My understanding is that Crest White Strips are the best ones. They run $40 to $80 per box.
One last note: Cavities or gum disease must be treated before undergoing teeth whitening. To set up an appointment for a free consultation, call my Southfield dentist office at (248) 356-8790. We’d love to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. For more information and to view before-and-after pictures, visit drmarklangberg.wpenginepowered.com.
So until next time,
Mark W. Langberg, DDS, MAGD