White Teeth For the Holidays
Many patients are picking this time during the pandemic to have smile makeovers or other major dental treatment and not have to worry about people seeing them during the interim stages of treatment. Once the pandemic is over, you can pull off your mask to unveil the beautiful smile you have always wanted people to notice.
There are several ways to whiten your teeth; here is an overview of a few options.
In-Office Whitening/Jump Start Whitening
Your teeth are polished to remove plaque and prepare the surfaces of your teeth for the whitening gel. Your lips are then pulled off your teeth with retractors to keep them away from the strong whitening gel. A liquid gel that is hardened is then placed down along your gumline to protect your gums from the whitening gel during the treatment. Then the whitening gel is placed onto your teeth. You will then sit and relax while the whitening light activates the whitening gel.
After your session is over, the gel and the gum protectant as well as the retractor will be removed. Your mouth is rinsed and you will be on your way.
Pros: Fast, easy, whiter smile, all in one session
Cons: Cost, sometimes extreme sensitivity, whitening may regress after first day, about 20% of patients still require some take-home whitening product for better success.
Opalescence Go (Take-Home Strips)
You can buy these from your dentist and they will evaluate if you are a candidate for this treatment. If you have very dark teeth from tetracycline staining, this whitening may or not work. The treatment time for this is 10 days of upper and lower trays.
Whitening Gel in a Custom Tray or Invisalign Retainer
You can use whitening gel in your custom made trays or custom made aligners only if the trays do not sit on your gums. If your trays cover your gums, then they will allow the whitening gel to get to your gums and cause a chemical burn to your gums. These treatments are usually done for days straight.
Endo Whitening For Dark Root Canaled Tooth
If you have one specific dark tooth that has been root canaled and needs to be whitened, there is an option to do an internal bleaching of that tooth. This procedure involves the dentist placing the gel into your tooth and you will need to come back for 2-3 visits in the span of a couple weeks to whiten the tooth.
Keep in mind that if you have had restorations on your front teeth they will not be able to be whitened. These restorations will have to be replaced. A consultation with a dentist is always your best option.