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Teeth Whitening


Have you been longing for a bright, white smile? You are not alone. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, when asked about what they would like to change about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth. Teeth whitening is one of the most sought-after treatments in cosmetic dentistry. It is one of the easiest ways to brighten dull, stained, and yellow teeth. You can now enjoy the white smile you’ve always wanted!

Why Do Teeth Change Their Color?

Your teeth are made up of a hard enamel outer layer, with an inner dentin layer. Staining agents such as coffee, red wine, tobacco, etc., begin forming a coating on your tooth enamel called a pellicle film. Your teeth have pores just like your skin does. If not removed by brushing and routine dental cleanings, the pellicle film begins to enter your tooth enamel through the pores.

Over time your teeth become stained and discolored. Once the stains enter the enamel, you will need to bleach your teeth using teeth whitening treatment to restore its color. The whitening process uses active ingredients to open the pores in your teeth and lifts stains. After each whitening session, your teeth naturally remineralize and rehydrate.

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Does Whitening Work for Any Teeth?

Not every discolored tooth can be corrected using a tooth whitener. Yellow teeth will usually bleach well while brown teeth or ones with gray tones may not respond to bleach. Whitening will not work if your tooth discoloration is caused by medication or by trauma due an injury. Teeth whitening will not lift stains off restorations such as caps, fillings, crowns, or veneers, but will not damage them if used on surrounding teeth.

When Will I See Results?

Even though you may see immediate results, there is no product available on the market that will deliver the whitening you want in a few minutes or a day. For best results, it may take as few as four days up to several months to achieve the results you desire. If you have severe stains, you need to be patient and realize that each whitening session works to remove years of stains. The degree of whiteness achieved may vary from one person to another depending on the level of staining, the condition of your teeth, and the type of bleaching system used.

Teeth whitening is not permanent. If you expose your teeth to staining agents, you will begin to see the whiteness starting to fade away quickly. Even if you avoid foods and beverages that cause staining, you will likely need a touch-up treatment in about a year.


What Is the Procedure for In-Office Teeth Whitening?

This procedure is otherwise known as chairside bleaching and will usually require one office visit. We will gently clean your teeth and place a protective barrier on your gums. We will then apply hydrogen peroxide or carbamide paste to your teeth and leave it on for several minutes. The bleach breaks up the stains, resulting in whiter, brighter teeth.

In-office bleaching delivers the best teeth whitening results because the concentration of bleach we use at our dental office is higher than that of at-home whitening treatments. We may also use a bleaching lamp to increase the effect of bleach on your teeth, achieving results more quickly. Many patients report seeing results after only one session, but to enjoy the most dramatic whitening, you will likely need several treatments.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

There are many at-home whitening methods available to you today, from our dentist-prescribed systems, to over the counter products such as whitening toothpaste, trays, gels, strips, and more. When using an at-home whitening treatment, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the best results and to avoid potential side effects.

Whitening toothpaste: All types of toothpaste work to remove surface stains because of the mild abrasives they contain. Some whitening toothpaste comes with gentle polishing or chemical agents, providing additional stain removal. A whitening toothpaste does not contain bleach, and will only remove surface stains. With diligent use, it may help lighten your teeth color by one shade, unlike in-office whitening that can make your teeth up to eight shades lighter.

Whitening gels and strips: These clear, peroxide-based gels or strips are applied directly to the surface of your teeth, with results beginning to show in a few days and final results lasting up to four months.

Teeth whitening trays: You will achieve the best at-home whitening results from dentist-dispensed take-home kits, especially the ones you use over extended periods. You can get custom-fitted trays for better results. You can also get over the counter whitening trays, but these come with a lower concentration of bleach and may not work as well. These appliances are filled with a whitening solution containing a peroxide bleaching agent. You will wear the trays as per the instructions. The kits usually come with enough gel for one two-week treatment per year, with one two-day touch up every six months.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Tooth whitening has been shown to be safe, primarily when performed at a dentist’s office. Some people report some mild irritation or tooth sensitivity, which are temporary conditions that should resolve within a few days. Overuse of whiteners can harm your tooth enamel or gums, so make sure to follow instructions carefully for the safest and best results.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Visit Dr. Sal’s dental practice in the Norridge area to learn more about teeth whitening and how it can brighten your smile. Our highly trained and experienced staff is here to answer your questions and to provide you with the best care and services available. Let us help you restore the sparkle to your smile!