Should I Consider OTC Whitening?

Do you have teeth that are stained with unsightly yellow or brown discoloration? We know that teeth stains can be embarrassing and that often the first place you look for a solution is at the store. Should you consider OTC whitening? While over-the-counter solutions can ease discoloration, we want to remind people that professional teeth whitening can provide longer lasting and more dramatic results.

Frequently Asked Questions About Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

Question: Will OTC methods lead to sensitivity?

Answer: Often, using store bought white strips can cause sensitivity and if used more than recommended, an almost translucent appearance in the teeth. In addition, the results rarely last very long and can only address surface stains. Some users also complain about gum irritation from whitening strips.

Question: How does professional teeth whitening work?

Answer: We first perform an initial office treatment. Afterward, we send the patient home with a set of trays and a bleaching gel. Each day, the patient will fill the trays with gel and wear them for the amount of time the doctor prescribes. Total treatment time is a week to ten days and may include a final office visit. The system is designed to reduce sensitivity and address both surface stains and minor intrinsic discoloration.

Question: What causes teeth stains?

Answer: Surface stains, or extrinsic discoloration, are often caused by the foods and drinks we consume, as well as smoking. Intrinsic stains, which occur below the outer tooth enamel, may be the result of injury, fluorosis, or tetracycline use. If our teeth whitening procedure won’t address your intrinsic discoloration, we can also mask stains with either dental bonding or veneers.

Question: How do I keep my newly brightened teeth whiter?

Answer: First, also ways brush and floss properly to reduce the appearance of plaque buildup and discoloration. You also need to have your teeth cleaned once every six months. We also suggest cutting back on drinks with dark pigments (soda, tea, coffee, fruit juice) and that you stop using tobacco products immediately.