Why You Should Pay for a Professional Teeth Whitening

a woman getting professional teeth whitening

Unmanaged tooth decay will lead to premature tooth loss which is detrimental to your overall health.  According to this dentist in hixson tn, regular check-ups and proper oral hygiene are crucial to preventing and addressing dental issues before they escalate.

Restorative dentistry procedures such as dental implants can help bring back the look and function of your smile, however, these are very expensive and the process can be quite painful and time-consuming.  It’s far better to take care of your teeth properly before tooth decay causes them to deteriorate.

Is teeth whitening best left to a professional dentist?

If you’ve been thinking that your smile could use a touch-up in the brightness department, then you’ve likely considered having your teeth whitened.  To that end, you’re not wrong.  Teeth whitening does a great job of bringing back the lustrousness of your smile in a short time and for not that much money.  It’s worth it if you ask us, but you need to make sure you choose the right whitening so you can get the results you want.  Let’s discuss.

The basics: What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure aimed at lightening the color of your natural teeth, making them appear whiter and brighter. Over time, various factors can cause teeth to become stained or discolored, such as consuming certain foods and beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, red wine), tobacco use, aging, and poor oral hygiene.

It’s important to note that teeth whitening treatments are most effective for extrinsic stains, which are surface stains that affect the outer layer of the tooth enamel. Intrinsic stains, which are stains that occur within the tooth structure, may require alternative cosmetic dental procedures, such as dental veneers or crowns, to improve their appearance.

Types of teeth whitening

Teeth whitening treatments use bleaching agents to remove stains and discoloration from the tooth enamel, revealing a brighter smile. There are two main types of teeth whitening methods:

In-Office Professional Teeth Whitening: This type of whitening is performed by a dental professional at a dental clinic. The procedure typically involves applying a high-concentration bleaching gel directly to the teeth, which is activated using a specialized light or laser. 

The treatment is usually completed in one or a few visits, and the results are often immediate and more noticeable compared to at-home methods.

At-Home Teeth Whitening: At-home whitening involves using whitening products that can be purchased over the counter or provided by a dental professional. These products usually include whitening gels or strips containing a lower concentration of bleaching agents than those used in professional treatments. 

At-home whitening methods typically require you to apply the product to your teeth for a designated period, usually for several days or weeks, to achieve the desired results.

In-office vs. at-home whitening: A comparison

Teeth whitening can be performed both by professionals and using over-the-counter (OTC) products. The choice between professional whitening and at-home whitening depends on various factors, including your budget, the severity of discoloration, and personal preferences. Here are some considerations for each option:

Professional Teeth Whitening:

Expertise: Dental professionals have the knowledge and experience to assess your oral health, determine the cause of tooth discoloration, and recommend the most suitable whitening treatment.

Customized Approach: Professionals can provide personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific needs, ensuring optimal results.

Stronger Whitening Agents: Professional whitening products often contain higher concentrations of whitening agents, which can lead to more noticeable and long-lasting results compared to OTC products.

Controlled Environment: Dental clinics offer a controlled and supervised environment, ensuring safety and minimizing potential risks during the whitening procedure.

At-Home Teeth Whitening:

Convenience: At-home whitening kits offer the convenience of performing the treatment in the comfort of your own home, following the provided instructions.

Affordability: Over-the-counter whitening products are generally more affordable than professional treatments, making them a cost-effective option for those on a budget.

Mild Discoloration: OTC whitening products are suitable for mild tooth discoloration or for maintaining the results of a professional treatment.

Less Time-Consuming: At-home whitening typically involves shorter treatment durations, allowing for flexibility in incorporating the procedure into your daily routine.

It’s important to note that not all OTC whitening products are equally effective or safe. Some may not provide the desired results or can cause tooth sensitivity or gum irritation if used improperly. 

When choosing at-home whitening options, look for products with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval and follow the instructions carefully.

If you have severe tooth discoloration or underlying dental issues, or if you prefer professional guidance and supervision, it’s advisable to consult with a dental professional who can assess your situation and recommend the best course of action.

Ultimately, the decision between professional and at-home teeth whitening depends on your individual circumstances, preferences, and budget. Consulting with a dental professional can help you make an informed choice and achieve the best possible outcome.

Some remarks about teeth whitening

Countless teeth whitening treatments are performed every day, and dentists have noticed that a few of the same questions or concerns keep cropping up among their patients.  That’s why it might be beneficial for you to get a heads-up about what you can expect after your treatment so you’re not left wondering if something has gone wrong.

1. Your jaw might be sore

A proper in-office teeth whitening means that you’ll have had your mouth (jaw) wide open for several hours while the bleaching agents do their thing.  This means that your jaw muscles could end up being quite sore a painful for a day or so afterward.  This is completely normal and the annoyance will subside.

2.  Your teeth might hurt – a lot

A whitening appointment at your dentist is a very thorough affair.  Strong bleaching agents are used to get maximum whitening but that also equates to your tooth enamel being rendered porous and seriously depleted of minerals.  That means your teeth might hurt

This isn’t permanent, so don’t worry, your teeth will remineralize themselves in a couple days and the enamel will seal itself back up. Until that happens though, your teeth may very well be quite painful (the nerve pain variety of discomfort) leaving you feeling pretty crappy.  

Some OTC painkillers like Advil or Tylenol will do that trick and tide you over until your teeth are back to normal.

3.  You may see ugly white streaks in your teeth

Your whitening procedure is finished and you’re expecting a Hollywood smile, but instead, you see a streaky mess staring back at you in the mirror.  WTH just happened!?  Did your teeth get permanently messed up?  

No, don’t stress, it’s normal to see patchy or white stains on your teeth after whitening.  It’s just that your teeth have been demineralized temporarily and once they suck up what they need, you should see a uniform shade of white that’s hopefully a big improvement than what you were dealing with before. 

4. DO use the follow-up care kit

After your in-office teeth whitening procedure is complete, most dental offices will send you home with a take-home follow-up kit.  This kit will include some whitening trays and some milder bleach solution. 

You generally are meant to use the kits two or three times to build upon the whitening done in the dentist’s chair.  Experience shows that these follow-up whitenings can make a big difference in the final shade your smile reaches.

5. You’ll feel better with a nicer smile

Just like if your breath is fresh, having nice white teeth to flash will help you feel ready to engage with others.  There’s nothing like knowing you look to boost your confidence and keep you feeling great.