Over time, teeth can become stained due to age, genetics, certain foods and drinks, and other factors. Fortunately, there are cosmetic treatments available that can brighten teeth in a quick, safe, and effective manner. Our dental practice offers both in-office and take-home teeth whitening treatments for our patients in the Kansas City, MO-area. If you wish to eliminate stubborn dental stains, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. John P. Goodman.
Video: Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening provides dramatic results to quickly improve the aesthetic appeal of a smile. In this video, Dr. Goodman discusses the treatment's benefits, including affordability and efficiency.
Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening can deliver a brilliant, natural-looking smile. This treatment offers several advantages. Some of the most notable include:
- Fast results: Whether you choose an in-office treatment or a take-home kit, professional teeth whitening offers quick results. Those who choose an at-home kit can achieve their desired smile gradually over the course of a few weeks. Patients who undergo an in-office treatment can lighten their smile by several shades in a single appointment.
- Safe and effective treatment: Over-the-counter whitening products can be too abrasive and may harm the protective outer layer of the teeth (enamel). However, dentist-supervised teeth whitening uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel to lighten the teeth. As a result, it is one of the safest procedures available. It is also much less invasive and more affordable than alternative treatments.
- A boost in self-confidence: Professional teeth whitening can enhance your overall appearance. A brighter, more attractive smile can have a positive impact on various aspects of your life, including your career and social life. Being able to flash an enhanced, dazzling smile is life-changing for many of our patients.
Types of Staining and Discoloration
Even with proper brushing and flossing habits, it can be very difficult to maintain bright, white teeth. Our teeth whitening treatments can eliminate stains in a safe and effective manner. When it comes to tooth discoloration, there are two types: extrinsic and intrinsic.
Even with proper brushing habits, it can be difficult to maintain bright, white teeth. Our teeth whitening treatments can eliminate stains in a safe, effective way.
Extrinsic stains affect the outer layers of the teeth. The stains can develop as a result of drinking beverages such as coffee or wine, eating foods like berries or mustard, or using tobacco products. Fortunately, extrinsic dental stains respond exceptionally well to teeth whitening.
Intrinsic stains affect the innermost layers of a tooth. This type of discoloration can be caused by genetic conditions, certain medications, or dental trauma. Since intrinsic stains are deep within the tooth, they do not improve with teeth whitening. Therefore, individuals with this type of discoloration will be better suited for alternative treatments.
Alternatives to Teeth Whitening
If you are not a candidate for teeth whitening, there are other treatments that can help you achieve a brighter, more attractive smile. These include:
- Dental bonding: During dental bonding treatment, tooth-colored composite resin is applied to the tooth to conceal discoloration as well as minor cosmetic flaws, such as chips, cracks, and slight misalignment. Dr. Goodman will apply the composite resin, mold and shape it, and harden it with a curing light. As a final step, the teeth are polished to a natural-looking shine.
- Porcelain veneers: One of the most popular cosmetic treatments available, porcelain veneers can alter the shape, size, or color of the teeth. Custom-crafted by a skilled ceramist, veneers adhere to the front surfaces of the teeth for a truly transformed smile. Generally, porcelain veneers can be placed in just two office visits.
- Snap-On Smile®: Designed to fit over your teeth, Snap-On Smile can instantly transform your smile, making it whiter, as well as more balanced and symmetrical. Though most patients only use this option as a temporary solution, it can give you a boost of confidence while you are waiting to complete your desired cosmetic treatment.
In-office Teeth Whitening
We are proud to offer Philips Zoom!® in-office teeth whitening at our practice. This revolutionary procedure produces fast, effective results with little to no discomfort. Each session involves three steps:
- A specialized mouth guard is placed to protect your gums from coming into contact with the bleaching gel. This prevents the irritation that is often experienced when patients use over-the-counter whitening kits.
- Professional-strength bleaching gel is applied evenly to your teeth, ensuring complete coverage of all exposed surfaces, angles, and corners.
- As you recline comfortably in the chair, a special dental light is used to activate the bleaching power of the whitening gel. This allows the solution to penetrate deeply into the enamel and remove tough stains.
You can undergo up to three 15-minute treatments during a single appointment, depending on the degree of staining and discoloration. Patients who choose this option can leave our office with a noticeably whiter, brighter smile in under one hour.
Take-home Teeth Whitening
Patients who want to brighten their smiles at their convenience can opt for our dentist-supervised take-home bleaching kits. We offer Glo® Science Professional to help patients achieve the results they desire.
If you select take-home treatment, Dr. Goodman will first need to fabricate your set of custom bleaching trays. To do this, we will take impressions of your teeth and send them to our dental lab. Once they are complete, we will assess them to ensure they fit properly. Your trays should rest snugly and comfortably over your teeth.
Dr. Goodman will provide you with a concentrated whitening gel, which you will dispense directly into the bleaching trays. You will then simply insert the trays in your mouth and wear them for the recommended amount of time. The oxygen molecules will penetrate the enamel and begin to break apart the stains.
The amount of wear time will depend on the type of gel you use. In many cases, patients will wear their trays for about 15 to 30 minutes. This will need to be completed daily for at least two weeks. Performed on its own, a take-home kit serves as a more affordable, convenient, and gradual option for brightening your teeth. Patients can touch up their results every four to six months to counter any dullness.
Dr. Goodman can also combine teeth whitening with other cosmetic procedures to improve your smile. If you are considering receiving porcelain veneers or dental bonding, he may recommend whitening beforehand to optimize your overall results. Crowns, bridges, and others restorations will not respond to whitening.
Are There Side Effects?
Teeth whitening is one of the safest cosmetic dentistry procedures a patient can undergo. However, like most treatments, there are temporary side effects, including tooth and gum sensitivity.
Although dental sensitivity generally diminishes within a few days, it is one of the most common side effects of teeth whitening. You may have a higher risk of post-treatment sensitivity if you:
- Typically notice tooth sensitivity after a routine dental cleaning
- Already have sensitive teeth, especially after eating or drinking extremely hot or cold beverages
- Experience dental sensitivity after brushing, flossing, or fluoride treatments
If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, we recommend using a desensitizing toothpaste. If your discomfort begins to interfere with your quality of life, you should contact our office.
Some patients develop gum irritation or sensitivity following teeth whitening treatment. This may be caused by an ill-fitting bleaching tray, overuse of the whitening gel, or failure of the protective barrier during an in-office treatment. You can minimize the risk of this side effect by choosing a skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist. Patients should contact our office if this side effect does not subside.
Maintaining Your Results
The results of teeth whitening are typically immediate. However, it is important to understand that this treatment does not prevent future stains from occurring. Therefore, you will likely need touch-up treatments to maintain long-term results. Depending on the whitening method used, patients may need a treatment every six to 12 months. If you smoke or consume dark-colored beverages or foods, you may need more frequent touch-ups.
In addition, there are a few things you can do to keep your smile looking bright and beautiful. For example, we recommend that you:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss between the teeth once daily.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce plaque.
- Consider using an ADA-accepted whitening toothpaste a couple times each week, then using regular toothpaste the rest of the time.
- Rinse your mouth out with water immediately after finishing a meal.
- Attend all scheduled dental examinations and cleanings.
- Avoid the use of all tobacco products.
- Consume coffee, tea, soda, and red wine in moderation.
- Sip dark-colored beverages through a straw to reduce the amount of time the liquid is in contact with the teeth.
- Avoid tomato sauce, soy sauce, berries and other dark-colored foods.
- Reduce the consumption of fruit juices and other acidic foods.
If you suspect you are taking a medication that is contributing to dental discoloration, talk to your primary care physician. They can sometimes adjust the dosage or medication to help reduce these effects.
Contact Our Practice Today
Are you looking for ways to accentuate your smile and enhance your overall appearance? Professional teeth whitening can deliver the results you want in a safe and effective way. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment at our practice, contact us online or call our office at (816) 842-8585.