Teeth Whitening Procedures: What you need to know

Our smile can say a lot about the appearance of our teeth and how we take care of them. Enamel erosion, poor dental hygiene, certain foods or drinks and even smoking can dull and discolor your teeth. Your teeth can be permanently damaged and stained when you do not give them the proper care they need. Teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy gums and unrestored teeth (no fillings) however this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone.

 All toothpastes help remove surface stains because they contain mild abrasives. Non-bleaching products only remove surface stains through physical and chemical reactions, some whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach. Over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain carbamide-peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that helps lighten the color deep in the tooth. Whitening toothpastes can lighten the tooth’s color by about one shade, prescription strength whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can lighten your teeth by three to eight shades.

Teeth whitening is not permanent, the degree of whiteness will vary from individual to individual depending on the condition of the teeth, the level of staining and the type of bleaching system used. People who expose their teeth to foods and beverages that can cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait one year longer or even longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed.

Do-it-yourself methods aren’t the same as getting your teeth whitened by a professional. You’ll want to consider a few important differences.

Strength of bleaching agents: At home products and over-the-counter products usually contain a lower strength bleaching agent containing about 10% to 22% carbamide which is equivalent to about 3% hydrogen peroxide. Professionally applied, in-office tooth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide in concentrations ranging from 15% to 43%.

Mouthpiece Trays: A custom-made tray minimizes the gel’s contact with gum tissue, with dentist-supervised at-home bleaching products your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and make a mouthpiece tray that is customized to exactly fit your teeth. This allows maximum contact between the whitening gel, which is applied directly to the tray, and the teeth.

Over-the-counter whitening products also contain a mouthpiece tray however, the “one size fits all” method means that the fit will not be exact. Ill-fitting trays can irritate the gum and soft tissue because it allows more bleaching gel to seep into these tissues. With in-office procedures, you’ll get the bleaching agent applied directly to your teeth.

Additional protective measures: In-office procedure requires your dentist will apply either a gel to the gum tissue or use a rubber shield (which slides over the teeth) prior treatment to protect your gums and oral cavities from the effects of bleaching. Over-the-counter products don’t provide these extra protective measures.

Supervised vs. Unsupervised: First, your dentist can perform an oral exam and consider your complete medical history, which can be helpful in determining if bleaching is an appropriate course of treatment based on the extent of the stains, and the number and location of restorations. Your dentist can then better match the type of stain with the best treatment and if appropriate to lighten those stains.

With your dentist, he’ll/ she’ll likely want to see you a couple times to clear up any questions, instructions on usage, make sure custom trays fit properly, to check your gums for signs of irritation and to generally see how the process is working. Over-the-counter bleaching products do not offer that, you’re on your own.

Risks associated with whitening: There are two effects that occur most often with teeth whitening are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity and mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during the early stages of the bleaching treatment. Tissue irritation most commonly results from ill-fitting mouthpiece tray or using to too much product. Both of these conditions usually are temporary and disappear within 1 to 3 days of stopping or completing treatment.

Good News! Dr. Frank C. Raymer DDS is now offering Kor whitening

Kor Whitening: The Kor whitening system was invented by internationally renowned cosmetic dentist and whitening science expert, Dr. Rod Kurthy. Thousands of dentists around the world agree that Kor whitening system is the most effective whitening system ever developed. In fact, the Kor whitening system is so effective, it is the only recognized whitening system that whitens every tetracycline-stained teeth in a short time (previously thought to be impossible) and these amazing Kor whitening results are achieved with minimal to no sensitivity.

Why does Kor whitening work so well?

The Kor whitening system works by restoring your teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen. The oxygen from the Kor whitening gel is absorbed deeply into the tooth, dissolving stain molecules. Unlike other whitening methods, with easy periodic home maintenance, Kor whitening is entirely permanent.

After several years of research, development and clinical testing Kor whitening introduced a whitening gel that, in most cases produces little to no sensitivity. Since Kor whitening gels are continuously refrigerated from the time they are manufactured until your dentist receives them, they contain no chemical stabilizers that can cause discomfort during whitening.

How does the system work?

Molds of your teeth will be made to fabricate your own unique, ultra-comfortable Kor Seal Whitening Trays. You and your dentist will select the whitening system that is a proper fit for you. You will normally wear your Kor seal trays at home for two weeks while you sleep. Depending on the whitening system you select, you may also have one or two simple whitening visits in the dental office.

Here at Frank C Raymer DDS we’ve had amazing success stories using the Kor whitening system to treat tetracycline stains and everyday staining. Don’t forget to schedule your appointment!

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