Professional Teeth Whitening
Would you love a brighter smile? Professional teeth whitening brightens smiles quickly and inexpensively. Turn back the clock by wiping away the yellow stain that accumulates with age. Whiter teeth look younger, healthier and more attractive. People ask me constantly how to get white teeth. They want to know about professional teeth whitening vs teeth whitening strips and ask how much does teeth whitening cost. Is teeth whitening safe and how long does teeth whitening last? And everyone wants to find out the best teeth whitening near me. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on teeth whitening dentistry so that you can get the brighter, whiter, younger looking smile you’ve been dreaming of.
How to Get White Teeth
Wondering how to get white teeth? Trying to figure out the best teeth whitening method? You’re not alone. Not only do patients ask me those questions every day, but hundreds of people also ask google how to get whiter teeth. A quick search gives you a bazillion suggestions. Reader beware!!! Some internet answers are good, others totally phony and some can be harmful! One article says whitening toothpaste alone whitens teeth. Another says “No, no! Brush with charcoal.” We saw ideas for oil pulling, brushing & flossing, professional dental cleanings, apple cider vinegar, lemon, baking soda, teeth whitening strips, teeth bleaching, professional teeth whitening, natural teeth whiteners… the ideas for how to get white teeth seem endless.
How can you know what works? Keep reading to get the real scoop from a dentist. It’s important to know what science says and not just what your neighbor’s aunt read on the internet and swears works under a full moon in the month of June.
How to get white teeth: the science
The first thing you need to know is that there are three kinds of yellow teeth: dirty teeth, stained teeth and injured teeth. Patients with yellow teeth often start out asking for whitening without realizing that teeth whitening treatment isn’t always the way to get whiter teeth.
So how do you make teeth whiter?
Figure out why teeth are yellow before you spend a penny and you’ll save yourself time & money!
Dirty Yellow Teeth Cleaned White
Stained Yellow Teeth Whitened White
Gum Recession Injury Showing Yellow Tooth Root
How to get white teeth when the yellow is gunk
You guessed it – a cleaning.
Not sure if the yellow is build up, deep stain or both? Scrape your tooth up next to the gum line with your fingernail. If you can scrape off junk with your fingernail, then the surface yellow you see is plaque build up that can be removed in a dental cleaning.
Although most dirty teeth also have stain underneath the gunk that could benefit from whitening, the good news is that sometimes a cleaning is all it takes to get whiter teeth! Professional dental cleanings effectively remove stains from coffee and tea as well as the yellow junk at the gum line to make teeth whiter and healthier. So how to make your teeth whiter? Always start with a cleaning. It’s silly to waste money trying to whiten plaque.
To learn more about ALL the things that change teeth color, check out our page on discolored teeth.
How to get white teeth when stain is the problem
Stains on teeth are like flies at a BBQ – always trying to land and building up continually the longer we age. Chocolate, wine, coffee and other deeply colored foods leave their mark over time. Fortunately, teeth whitening treatments are very effective at whitening stain. When you select a whitening treatment, look for a whitening solution that contains carbamide peroxide. This cousin of hydrogen peroxide effectively dissolves stain without hurting your teeth. That’s important because some internet fads suggest lemons or other acids for whitening, but acids dissolve stains AND teeth. Not good.
Whitening that works requires five things:
- The right whitener (carbamide peroxide is best)
- The right dose / strength of whitener
- The ability to cover the teeth completely with the whitener
- The ability to keep the teeth coated long enough for the whitener to do its job
- The ability to keep the whitening solution off of the cheeks and gums. After all, you don’t want to whiten your gums, just your teeth. To learn more about how whitening works on the teeth, keep reading.
The Science of Teeth Whitening Dentistry in a Nutshell
Over time, tiny pigmented particles of plaque and food infiltrate tooth enamel making it yellow and yucky. Whitening requires a solution with molecules tiny enough to saturate tooth enamel and dissolve the stain particles stuck there without damaging the tooth enamel. Carbamide peroxide, the active ingredient in professional teeth whitening, dissolves tooth stains without hurting the teeth.
The next important factor is using a high enough dose to remove all the stain. You need professional strength carbamide peroxide in order to whiten efficiently. Low, over the counter concentrations work too slowly.
Next you need a way to keep the whitener on the tooth surface for the whole treatment time without it being washed off. In other words, we need to be able to bathe the tooth enamel in the whitening. If the whitener gets rinsed away, diluted or rubbed off, it can’t do its job.
The inability to keep the whitening treatment on the tooth is what makes whitening toothpastes, rinses and pens no good
They have effective ingredients but can’t stay on the tooth long enough to make a difference in the color. The best tooth bathing happens with a customized whitening tray that is molded to your teeth and designed with a special “whitening solution” well on the front of each tooth. These trays not only bath the teeth in whitener most effectively, but they also shield cheeks and gums from that same whitener. After all, we want whiter teeth, not whiter cheeks. If the whitening solution sits on the gums or cheeks too long, it causes irritation.
How to get white teeth when the yellow is dentin or recession
Injured tooth enamel and gums show through yellow dentin and tooth root. These yellows from injury cannot be fixed by cleaning or by whitening. The only way to whiten the yellow from injury is to cover it with a restoration.
Furthermore, if you choose to whiten your teeth when you have gum recession or exposed dentin, it’s very important to not expose the injured areas to whitening products because they are more sensitive. Whitening doesn’t damage dentin or tooth roots, but it doesn’t feel good either. In our office, we use a special desensitizing solution to protect exposed tooth roots or dentin and minimize sensitivity.
Keep reading to discover how tooth whitening works, why natural tooth whiteners often do more harm than good and get the scoop on professional teeth whitening vs teeth whitening strips.
Gum Recession Shows Yellow Tooth Roots
What about Natural tooth whiteners?
When you’re trying to figure out whether something is a good natural tooth whitener, you need to ask yourself four questions:
- Can the natural tooth whitener access the tooth stains on a microscopic level or only on the surface?
- Can the whitener damage the tooth or gum tissue?
- Will the natural tooth whitener penetrate the deep stains?
- Will the whitener be able to stay isolated in place long enough to dissolve the stains?
Most so-called natural tooth whiteners depend on large molecule substances like charcoal and coconut oil that cannot penetrate deep stains. Rough natural tooth whiteners like charcoal and baking soda can damage gum tissue and put you at risk for gum disease if they get rubbed hard on the gums. Acidic whiteners like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar dissolve some stains; however, they also dissolve your TEETH!
Brushing and flossing DO keep teeth whiter longer because they remove yellow plaque and slow staining; however, they can’t remove microscopic stains already present. Brushing and flossing also cannot prevent all staining. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural teeth bleaching agent; however, it quickly loses its bleaching ability once exposed to air and it gets diluted in the mouth by saliva. It loses its effectiveness long before it touches the deep stains unless it is in a gel form and protected from saliva by a barrier.
Professional Teeth Whitening vs Teeth Whitening Strips
Everyone wants to know what the scoop is on teeth whitening strips. Do they work? Are they good? Why do dentists still do professional teeth whitening if teeth whitening strips are cheaper?
Yes, Teeth whitening strips do work…
They’re simply not as quick or effective as professional teeth whitening dentistry. Strips are less expensive per box; however, in order to get the same results as custom take-home whitening from a dentist’s office, you will need multiple boxes which increases the cost per result for strips significantly.
The two other differences between strips and professional teeth whitening are that strips do not cover all of your teeth and can leave the sides of your smile stained. And, finally, that strips are more likely to cause sensitivity because they are one-size-fits-all and cause gum burns and don’t have desensitizer included.
The best teeth whitening happens in a dental office
Only dentists have access to prescription strength carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide is a special form of hydrogen peroxide that withstands air and saliva better. Its durability makes it more effective than simple hydrogen peroxide. In addition, we make customized whitening trays that fit YOUR teeth exactly. That way the whitening covers your whole tooth precisely without rinsing or rubbing away.
These trays also keep the whitening off of your gums and cheeks. Furthermore, dentists can spot areas of recession and exposed dentin and treat them with desensitizer prior to whitening to insure that sensitivity doesn’t fly out of control. Finally, in office treatments make it possible to treat deep, deep staining from things like tetracycline.
The Best Teeth Whitening Comes with Options
At our office, patients can choose between in-office teeth whitening dental treatments as well as professional grade, at-home treatments. We offer the best whitening system currently on the market, KOR, for amazing, immediate results. To find out how much does teeth whitening cost, scroll down to our paragraph on how much does teeth whitening cost below.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
People ask me daily “Don’t Whitening Treatments Damage Teeth?”
The simple answer is No. Professional teeth whitening treatments do not damage teeth nor do teeth whitening strips. Both are safe methods to remove stain.
So, if it’s so safe, why do people believe it causes damage?
People who believe that whitening is harmful usually have experienced a spike in tooth sensitivity following whitening treatments. This was especially common 10-15 years ago before desensitizing treatments were discovered.
Why would teeth whitening dentistry increase sensitivity?
Let’s think about how it works. It dissolves the stain that discolors teeth. If those stains are thick enough to be visible, they are also thick enough to act like a layer of insulating mud mask on the tooth. When surface stains dissolve, it reveals the tooth structure under the stains. This isn’t a problem unless that tooth structure is dentin or tooth root because dentin and tooth roots are sensitive to sweets, hot and cold AND whitening solutions.
If sensitivity results, doesn’t that mean that whitening is bad?
No! The whitening doesn’t cause the open dentin or gum recession, it simply reveals them. These problems result from clenching and grinding, gingivitis, and issues like over-brushing. The fact that it causes sensitivity is not proof that it does damage. However, it is proof that getting your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist matters.
There’s no need to live with stained teeth or sensitivity!
Dentists can spot areas of recession, exposed dentin and pre-treat them to reduce or prevent sensitivity before it starts. We can also choose whitening systems that include sensitivity-reducing agents. Dentists also employ specialized techniques to protect sensitive areas while maximizing whitening.
Teeth Whitening Near Me
Ok. You know you want to whiten your teeth. You’ve googled teeth whitening near me and now you’re trying to figure out which one of the thirty dentists by your house to choose. How can you know who will give you the best results? Is there even a difference?
In order to pick the right dentist for you from the gazillion you found by googling “teeth whitening near me,” you need to decide what you want your results to look and feel like. What are you looking for? If you want to spend little or nothing and are happy with any results you get, opt for a cheap GroupOn deal. Group-on whitening packages typically provide generic, non-custom trays with a two week supply of gel. This option is about the equivalent of teeth whitening strips and sometimes the Group-On deal costs a good deal less than strips. Like strips, non-custom trays help whiten teeth, just not as well or as fast as possible. If you want well-whitened teeth and are looking for the best bang for your buck, your best value will be a dentist who does take-home whitening with custom-fitted trays. This option will give you professional strength whitening gel coupled with a custom fitted tray that will double the effectiveness of the whitening.
If you want your teeth as well whitened as they can be, then you need to avoid GroupOn coupons and corporate dental offices and find a cosmetic dentist who offers the in-office KOR whitening system. Not only is it the absolute best professional teeth whitening system available, it is also the only system that can whiten extreme staining from tetracycline. If you want or need the best, don’t settle for anything less than KOR.
How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost
I get asked this question all the time and not just from patients. Even random people I meet in line at Costco who find out I’m a dentist want to know how much does teeth whitening cost. We’ve already discussed that there a quite a few ways to whiten teeth, from drugstore teeth whitening strips to professional non-customized whitening and then to KOR Ultra Whitening that can wipe out tetracycline stains. These different methods of teeth whitening can be as inexpensive as a free offer or Group-on upsell for a new patient to $50 a box teeth whitening strips to several hundred dollars for customized take home whitening with prescription strength whitening gel to the cost for KOR whitening.
The differences in cost are directly related to the strength and efficacy of the whitening treatment. Pick what fits your whitening goals and your budget.
What most people actually want to know when they ask how much does teeth whitening cost is how much does the professional, in-office treatment cost. We do not do Zoom at our office because it’s not more effective than regular customized take home whitening trays. State-of-the-art KOR treatments, which are the best teeth whitening available, has several levels depending on the degree of whitening that needs to happen. In San Antonio, the cost for KOR treatments ranges between $750 for the KOR Max to $1,200-2,000 for Kor Ultra. The difference in cost depends on the number of in-office treatments needed to achieve to make your teeth whiter. Severe staining may require more than one session of whitening treatment.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last
Professional teeth whitening lasts a very long time. Exactly how long depends on how well you maintain the whitening with regular dental cleanings and brushing & flossing. It also depends on how frequently you drink red wine and suck on dark chocolate. Kor professional teeth whitening for tetracycline lasts forever in that the tetracycline stains won’t come back.