Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening

Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening from Island Paradise Dental in Marco Island, FLIt is natural for teeth to become discolored from drinks, smoking, medication, and age. Teeth whitening can help remove or reduce stains or discoloration, giving you a brighter, healthier-looking smile. This blog covers professional and at-home teeth whitening methods, how they work, and their benefits and risks.

How teeth whitening works

Professional teeth whitening can be done in the dental office or with a take-home kit. Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening kits are available at most drugstores. Each of these methods uses various types of peroxide to lighten the outer layer of the tooth, also known as tooth enamel.

When done in the office, the whole process will take between 60 and 90 minutes. The dentist will first polish the teeth to remove any plaque before coating the teeth with a bleaching agent. This agent may be either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in the form of a whitening gel. The dentist may need to activate it with a bright light, then leave it to sit until the desired shade is achieved. At this point, the solution will be rinsed off the teeth.

At-home teeth whitening from the dentist and the drugstore include whitening strips, gels and trays, and rinses. In addition, the dentist can provide custom trays by taking an impression (or mold) of the patient’s teeth. Usually, the patient uses these trays overnight or for a short interval every day.

In-office vs. over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening

The length of time before a patient sees dramatic results is the main difference between professional teeth whitening in the office and OTC teeth whitening kits. In the office, it is possible to brighten teeth dramatically in one 60- to 90-minute session. A patient must use OTC kits multiple times over several days or weeks. It may take just as long to see results with some at-home whitening kits that dentists offer.

Benefits of professional teeth whitening

Teeth whitening has many advantages in addition to getting a brighter smile. Some of these benefits include:

  • Safe and effective: Dentists are trained in how to use bleaching agents effectively, making professional teeth whitening safer than OTC teeth whitening. The dentist will protect the gums from the bleaching agent and ensure not to leave it on the teeth for too long.
  • Highly customizable: Sometimes, only a few teeth become yellowed or stained. A dentist can target these teeth, lightening them to match the surrounding teeth better. It is also easier to get a closer match to the desired shade with professional teeth whitening.
  • Confidence boost: A brighter smile can make the patient more confident, as they will want to show it off. They may no longer feel like covering their mouth when laughing or minimizing the size of their smile.

Cons and potential risks

The price tag is the most commonly cited con of teeth whitening. Insurance does not typically cover teeth whitening, as it is a cosmetic procedure. Some dentists offer payment plans to help patients afford the procedure.

There are also certain health risks if professional teeth whitening is done improperly or too often. For example, overexposure or overuse of the bleaching agent could result in tooth sensitivity, worn-down enamel, and gum irritation. Experienced dentists take precautions to reduce the potential for these risks.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Teeth Whitening in Marco Island, FL

Brighten your smile

Ready to get a brighter, whiter smile? Whether through an at-home kit or in-office procedure, our dental team can help. Give us a call today.

Request an appointment or call Island Paradise Dental at 239-330-1040 for an appointment in our Marco Island office.

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