We all love a bright white smile, and there are a variety of procedures and products available for us here at Fairhope Dentist to help you improve the look of yours.
You can improve your sparkle by brushing twice daily with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, making sure to clean in between your teeth with floss once a day and regular cleanings at the dentist’s office. But if you would like to go beyond this to make that smile shine even brighter, you should be sure to investigate all of your options.
There are several approaches you can take to whiten your smile:
You may want to start by speaking with Dr. Maddox. He can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. Likewise, bleaching may not enhance your smile if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth. The whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
If you are a candidate for bleaching, Dr. Maddox may suggest a procedure that can be done in his office. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and would require an appointment that may take from one hour to an hour and a half.
During chairside bleaching, the dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light is used to enhance the action of the agent.
There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by D. Maddox or purchased over-the-counter.
Bleaching solutions. These products contain peroxide(s), which actually bleach the tooth enamel. These products typically rely on percent carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent, carbamide peroxide comes in several different concentrations (15%, 22%, 35%).
Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used twice a day for 2 weeks, and others are intended for overnight use for 1-2 weeks. If you obtain the bleaching solution from your Dr. Maddox, he can make a custom-fitted mouthguard for you that will fit your teeth precisely. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal.
You also may want to speak with Dr. Maddox should any side effects become bothersome. For example, teeth can become sensitive during the period when you are using the bleaching solution. In many cases, this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. Some people also experience soft tissue irritation—either from a tray that doesn’t fit properly or from solution that may come in contact with the tissues. If you have concerns about such side effects, you should discuss them with Dr. Maddox.
Toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not alter the intrinsic color of teeth.
When selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance—your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.