Would you like whiter teeth? Teeth bleaching may be right for you if you worry or even think about the color of your teeth. The dentists at Cranford Dental can guide you towards the best and safest way to bleach your teeth.
Teeth bleaching is one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve your smile; however, you must know which bleaching product will work best for your mouth. Of course, you need to whiten your teeth in a way that will be safe and give long lasting results. And you want to avoid spending money on a product that may not help the way your teeth look.
In recent years the market has filled up with new tooth whitening products. Companies are marketing creams, strips, gels, and other products with promises of good results.
The flood of information on teeth whitening can confuse consumers; it is hard to know what method is best and safest for your individual situation. Here we help you make an informed decision on moving forward with whitening your teeth.
Options for safely bleaching teeth include custom bleaching trays, whitening strips, paint on gels, and disposable bleaching trays. The benefits and drawbacks of these methods follow:
Custom bleaching trays
At Cranford Dental we use custom fitted bleach trays. After fitting the trays, we ask patients to use 16% or 21% carbide peroxide gel to whiten the teeth to their desired levels. With these trays, we can use a higher percentage of peroxide in the gel, which gives faster and longer lasting results.
We can customize the treatment to the whiteness level that looks best for each patient.
The fitted trays make applying the gel easy and safe. And fitted trays make maintenance simple. Patients use the same trays when they need to touch up their teeth.
Disposable Bleaching trays
Disposable bleaching trays (such as Opalescence Go) are the best option if you want to go with an over the counter product. They are easy to use and offer good results for some situations.
Although these trays are less expensive than custom trays initially, the long term cost is more since patients have to buy new trays for each application. And they could cause gum sensitivity as the fit is not as accurate as with custom trays.
Proctor and Gamble’s Crest first brought out white strips in 2001. These work if worn as recommended.
Our patients report that it takes four or six boxes to achieve the best results.
This bleaching fades quickly compared to professional bleaching. The strips are not good for patients looking to whiten teeth for long term.
Paint on gels
Commercial paint on whitening brushes do not work well. Our opinion: these gels are pretty much a waste of time and money.
Comparison: Commercial Products to Professional Teeth Whitening
Our Dentists have two main concerns about bleaching methods and products: 1.) Is the product safe? 2.) Will the product give the best possible results for your mouth?
If you choose to buy an over-the-counter product, please buy a known brand from a reputable store. Some of the products sold on eBay or by vendors at malls may include chemicals that will damage your teeth or gums. And the seller may not be around to advise or help if you have trouble with the product.
We are concerned about the lack of monitoring of these products. Most name brand gels and creams are safe if used correctly.
Professional whitening by your dentist is safe and works well:
- Trays fit closer to the mouth, which makes the bleach more effective.
- You may be able to use less of the bleaching product for good results.
- The trays will help protect surrounding teeth and gums from damage.
- You can reuse the trays until you reach the results that are right for you.
- Patients like not having to bleach as often.
- Dentists can increase peroxide up to 21% for whiter results.
For safest and longest lasting results we advise that you ask for an evaluation at your next dental appointment. We can make sure that whitening will work for your teeth.
Will Whitening work for my Teeth?
Modern bleaching products will improve the look of most teeth. Our experience over the past 35 years helps us judge how much bleaching will help your teeth. Here are our general guidelines:
- Teeth with yellow tones get better results than brown or gray teeth.
- Bleaching does not work well when stains come from within. Tetracycline stains develop while teeth are forming. The stain is calcified in the teeth.
- The general condition of your teeth will tell us how much whitening will help you.
- Whitening will not work on crowns, filling, or other restorations.
We will discuss bleaching and compare to other options that may give you better results. Ask your dentist at your next office visit how much benefit you would receive from bleaching. He may advise that your smile is natural and beautiful and that bleaching will not help you.
How can I Maintain Bleach Results?
You can maintain white teeth for many years if you get good initial bleaching results and follow a plan to maintain the results:
- Use custom trays to get the optimum bleach results.
- Keep a tube of whitening gel and “touch up” if teeth start to darken.
- Maintain good home health care, including brushing and flossing.
- Avoid foods that stain teeth and rinse immediately after eating.
- Let hygienist know at your check up if you are having trouble maintaining good results.
How Long will Bleaching Last?
Many of our patients maintain white teeth for many years with home touch ups every few months using permanent bleach trays and gel.
Your dentist will discuss the results he expects based on age and condition of teeth. He will give you a plan to make sure the teeth stay white.
Is Bleaching Safe?
Bleaching is safe if you use the right products and use care when bleaching teeth.
Regulations in the dental industry safeguard against peroxide levels that would damage your teeth. If you use too much gel or if your trays do not fit right you could damage gums or soft tissues. Make sure to use a reputable product and ask your dentist if your teeth are candidates for whitening.
Does Teeth Bleaching Hurt?
Teeth whitening treatment should not hurt. We determine the power of the bleaching gel and apply it close to your teeth. This prevents tooth and gum sensitivity and avoids problems caused by excess gel.
Is Bleaching Expensive?
The key to keeping the cost down is to get good results at your initial bleaching appointment. The cost of gel to “touch up” from home every few months is minimum.
Ask your dentist if there is a way to cover whitening under your insurance plan. Most companies consider this “elective” and do not cover the costs.
Make an appointment with Dr. Cranford or Dr. Robinson if you would like to discuss how bleaching would improve your smile. You can also discuss bleaching with your hygienist at your next visit.
We are happy with the long term results of bleaching for many of our patients. Call 803-324-7670 or visit Cranford Dental if we can help you. We are at 1721 Ebenezer Road, near Piedmont Medical Center.