Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, it is inevitable that, over time, some yellowing or general discoloration will occur. To combat these effects, our practice offers in-office whitening and at-home teeth whitening, both of which can significantly lighten the shade of your teeth with natural-looking, long-lasting results. Professional-grade whitening is one of the most effective teeth whitening methods currently available, and by customizing treatment to fit your unique needs and goals, our cosmetic dentists in Scottsdale—Dr. Brandon Ryff, Dr. Jonathan Coombs, and Dr. Don Chiappetti—can help you achieve a bright, radiant smile that you are happy to put on display.
Even those who frequently brush, regularly visit the dentist, and take excellent care of their teeth may notice signs of staining and discoloration over time. These perceived tooth blemishes can be caused by long-term consumption of foods and beverages such as berries, coffee, red wine, and other items that contain staining agents, as well as the use of tobacco products. In many cases, tooth discoloration is simply the result of the natural aging process. Professional teeth whitening treatments utilize powerful whitening agents to bring out a whiter, healthier, and more refreshed appearance. Composed of top-quality whitening formulas, these innovative techniques can be custom-tailored to whiten your teeth by several shades, often more effectively and in less time than alternatives available over-the-counter. Ultimately, professional teeth whitening options can have a positive effect on overall smile aesthetics and produce long-lasting results for many individuals.
Although some over-the-counter whitening products can provide adequate results for certain individuals, professional-grade teeth whitening generally creates far superior outcomes for the majority of patients. There are several reasons for this, chief of which being that professional teeth whitening solutions include whitening agents that are far more aggressive than what can be found in most over-the-counter teeth whitening kits available at the local store. Professional-grade whitening ingredients are capable of penetrating more deeply into the tooth enamel to address stains and discoloration that have been developing for many years.
Another significant distinction between professional teeth whitening and over-the-counter options is the time it takes to achieve noticeable results. Just one in-office whitening treatment typically yields immediately visible effects, while over-the-counter solutions often require many weeks of patient, consistent use before producing even a mild degree of whitening.
With all of this in mind, one of the most important differences between these options is the fact that professional teeth whitening treatments are developed and overseen by one of our cosmetic dentists. This provides patients with management of their treatment by an experienced professional, which can dramatically increase the likelihood that outcomes will be successful and that the process is done safely.
In addition to over-the-counter options, we live in an age where claims of so-called “natural” solutions such as charcoal teeth whitening and coconut oil teeth whitening are prevalent—regimens that, according to the American Dental Association, have no evidence to suggest they are safe or effective. In fact, many of these gimmicky whitening options are quite abrasive to the tooth structure. They function more so by removing a layer of enamel, exposing the whiter layer beneath. Eventually, you run out of enamel, and this can spell big trouble down the road. Our teeth whitening treatments, supervised by our skilled dental professionals, are the best way to safely ensure optimal results and a brighter, whiter smile.
Scottsdale Smile Center offers two advanced options for teeth whitening:
Opalescence® Boost is an advanced, in-office treatment that contains a powerful whitening solution composed of hydrogen peroxide gel, potassium nitrate (reduces sensitivities), and fluoride (strengthens tooth enamel). Unlike other in-office whitening techniques, the Opalescence® Boost formula is chemically activated, eliminating the need for a hot, potentially uncomfortable light to make the treatment work.
To begin treatment, one of our skilled dentists will activate the specialized whitening solution and gently apply the gel to the surface of the teeth. As you relax comfortably, this gel will need to remain on the teeth for approximately 20 minutes. Once enough time has passed, the gel is wiped off your teeth, and the process is then repeated. Following the second application, the gel will again be cleaned off, you will be instructed to rinse thoroughly, and our dentist will inspect your teeth to ensure an optimal result was achieved. Should additional whitening be necessary, a second treatment can usually be scheduled for a few days later.
For patients who desire to whiten their teeth at their own convenience, our practice offers Opalescence® take-home teeth whitening. With this technique, your dentist will provide you with fitted trays and the advanced teeth whitening gel, and he will give you specific instructions for at-home application. While every individual is different, most patients are instructed to simply wear the trays while they sleep, and stop when their teeth have become as white as they desire. Generally, at-home teeth whitening takes two to four weeks to achieve an ideal outcome.
Tooth sensitivity during and immediately after a teeth whitening treatment is not uncommon. While this effect should fade relatively quickly, we want to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible during the treatment and in the hours that follow. By taking a few simple steps, tooth sensitivity and any potential discomfort associated with it can be minimized. If your teeth are already susceptible to sensitivity, please let our dentists know before your treatment begins. In these cases, we may be able to modify the amount of whitening solution to reduce any uncomfortable effects. Additionally, it is recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste such as Sensodyne® or other product designed for individuals who have sensitive teeth. Regular rinses with a fluoride mouthwash can also be helpful, and the temporary avoidance of consuming items that are excessively hot, cold, or high in acidity is also a good idea. Additionally, it is important to note that the teeth can become more sensitive if they are whitened too frequently, whether that is achieved by in-office or at-home treatments. With that in mind, some individuals who regularly undergo whitening treatments and are experiencing high levels of tooth sensitivity may be advised to limit the frequency of the procedures.
The longevity of teeth whitening results is dependent on a variety of factors, including lifestyle habits, genetics, diet, and the use of certain medications. For many individuals, the effects last very long periods of time. If you see that the whitening results are starting to fade, a “touch-up” treatment can be performed to prolong the outcome. We recommend the use of straws with certain drinks to minimize staining, as well as regular visits to see the hygienist to minimize the development of plaque buildup, which can contribute to staining.
If you would like more information on the many dental treatments we offer, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists, please contact Scottsdale Smile Center today.