Perhaps the most popular and cost-effective way to make a dramatic smile improvement is with cosmetic bleaching, also known as teeth whitening. As our before-and-after teeth whitening gallery shows, teeth bleaching can produce dramatic results with minimal investment and effort. After a thorough exam, one of our cosmetic dentists will talk with you about your goals and make a teeth whitening plan that can best meet your needs.
Why Choose Eureka Smiles for Your Bleaching Needs?
Store-bought teeth bleaching materials are typically weaker than what professionals offer, and their trays are seldom as comfortable or as well-fitting when compared to those obtained in a professional dentist’s office. Our skilled dental team has the experience and quality materials to create a treatment program that fits your particular needs while we monitor your progress and make modifications as needed. Because we offer a wide variety of bleaching options, we can come up with a plan and material that best fits your situation. For those who have tooth sensitivity, we offer materials with varying levels of intensity, along with desensitizing gels to make the experience as pleasant as possible. We have bleaching systems that give the patient choices according to their desires. Some bleaches are meant for overnight use (NiteWhite), while others are meant for shorter durations during the day (DayWhite). With either method, we make a special bleach tray so that the material is placed in very small amounts in just the right position. Depending upon the level of whiteness desired by the patient, we normally see dramatic results in about two weeks with touch-ups done by the patient once every three months.
What Causes Teeth Staining?
There are many factors that contribute to yellow, brown, or gray stains on the teeth. They include many of the things we eat and drink, medications, tobacco use, older dental restorations, and the natural aging process. In general, patients usually experience two types of tooth staining:
- External or extrinsic: Food, drinks, plaque, tobacco products
- Internal or intrinsic: Excessive fluoride use, genetic teeth discoloration, certain medications (tetracycline stains)
Over time, the accumulation of these staining agents can start to penetrate the light yellow, porous layer of tissue underneath the enamel known as the dentin. While daily teeth cleaning can strip the tooth surface of bacteria and food debris, stains that reach the dentin are rarely affected by brushing and flossing. What’s more, the yellow-orange hue of the dentin usually becomes more visible as the enamel naturally wears down with age. This is why your teeth may continue to appear yellow despite the most religious oral hygiene habits. When external stains caused by food and drink combine with internal discoloration, most adults experience a gradual darkening of their tooth shade as they grow older.
Over-the-Counter vs. Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment
The biggest difference between professional and over-the-counter teeth whitening involves the effectiveness of treatment. Many of the teeth whitening products found in stores—such as toothpastes, rinses, and whitestrips—do not contain the bleaching agents necessary to reach the inner layers of tooth enamel, where coffee, wine, tobacco, and other staining agents can cause the most discoloration. Consequently, the results yielded by over-the-counter treatments often fail to lighten teeth to any noticeable degree, or require months of consistent use to achieve a difference in tooth shade. This is also true of do-it-yourself remedies like charcoal teeth whitening and coconut oil teeth whitening, neither of which have shown evidence of whitening use that is supported by the American Dental Association. In fact, charcoal can be incredibly abrasive and strip the teeth of its natural enamel.
In contrast, professional teeth whitening treatment consists of powerful bleaching agents designed to lighten your teeth by multiple shades in one session. With options custom-tailored to accommodate your unique sensitivity levels, professional-grade teeth whitening is capable of achieving a powerful outcome that can be immediately apparent upon the completion of treatment.
What are My Teeth Whitening Treatment Options?
Custom Teeth Whitening/Bleaching Trays
At Eureka Smiles, our cosmetic dentists can design custom whitening trays that fit perfectly around your teeth, allowing you to brighten your smile with a reduced risk of gum irritation from displaced whitening gel. These personalized whitening trays are reusable for years, offer a more precise and targeted teeth bleaching treatment, and can provide more comfort when compared to one-size-fits-all trays. The benefits and increased effectiveness of custom teeth whitening trays are also endorsed by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
Drs. Klumb or Menolascino will create your whitening trays from an impression of your bite, which should help ensure the bleaching gel is fully dispersed over the enamel without irritating the gum tissue. Treatment includes four syringes of state-of-the-art Opalescence® whitening gel — a powerful option that can remove discoloration and lighten your teeth by several shades.
Opalescence® GO™ At-Home Whitening Kits
Are you looking for an effective teeth whitening option that you can use at home? Our practice offers Opalescence® Go™ at-home whitening kits for patients who want to whiten their teeth at their own convenience. This technique utilizes advanced dental trays (no impressions will be necessary) in an array of flavors. The trays also contain ingredients that can reduce teeth sensitivity during treatment and even enhance oral health. They are designed to collect warmth from your body temperature, allowing them to mold and adapt to your teeth in order to make the treatment experience more comfortable and effective. The trays are pre-filled with professional teeth whitening gel to generate beautiful outcomes while minimizing discomfort. Typical Opalescence® Go™ treatments take about 5 to 10 days to achieve optimal results.
How is Tooth Sensitivity Managed After Teeth Whitening?
While sensitivity after teeth whitening should gradually subside, there are a number of ways you can help minimize discomfort during or after treatment:
- Communicate your levels of sensitivity to Dr. Klumb or Dr. Menolascino so they can adjust your whitening treatment accordingly
- Lessen the frequency with which you undergo treatment, or decrease the amount of bleaching solution used during a whitening session
- Use oral health products specifically designed to diminish sensitivity, such as Sensodyne® toothpaste
- Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Rinse with fluoride mouthwash
How Long Do Teeth Whitening Results Last?
In general, the results of whitening can fade one to four years after the initial treatment. Teeth whitening can be very long-lasting, but additional sessions may be necessary in the future as your teeth continue to be exposed to food and drink. If desired, touch-up treatments are available for patients who desire a more powerful whitening outcome.
What is the Cost of Teeth Whitening?
Professional in-office or at-home teeth whitening usually costs between $400 to $600 on average, depending on your needs and preferred teeth bleaching system. While these rates are not necessarily specific to Eureka Smiles, they can provide an approximation of your potential expenses for dental-grade teeth whitening. Our patient care coordinator would be happy to give you a personalized cost estimate once Dr. Klumb or Dr. Menolascino is able to evaluate your concerns in person.
The price of teeth whitening from a qualified cosmetic dentist often reflects the effectiveness of treatment results to be expected. Professional options are usually more costly than over-the-counter teeth whitening due to the ability to lighten the teeth by several shades relatively quickly. If you prefer to pay for your treatment through a series of smaller installments, a member of our office team can discuss our dental financing options with you. We accept CareCredit® at Eureka Smiles, which is a national lending institution that allows qualified patients to select from an array of short- and long-term payment plans. Many of these arrangements have the benefits of affordable minimum payments and low- to no-interest rates. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office.
Are There Teeth Whitening Alternatives?
For patients who are affected by deep, dark stains that may be too severe for standard teeth whitening procedures to be effective, we offer a number of advanced alternatives that can address those concerns. These include options such as customized porcelain veneers or full CEREC® dental crowns that can provide durable and beautiful solutions. Our dentist will evaluate your needs to determine whether teeth whitening or other techniques are best for your individual goals.
Additional Teeth Whitening FAQs
Do teeth whitening strips work?
Teeth whitening strips found in pharmacies and drug stores may lighten your smile to some degree, but any noticeable improvement is typically achieved over the course of several months. This is due to the lack of strength in the materials that comprise over-the-counter teeth whitening products, as the bleaching agents often do not reach the dentin or work against intrinsic tooth stains.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Professional teeth whitening treatment is considered very safe by the American Dental Association (ADA) when administered by a qualified cosmetic dentist. In determining the safety of over-the-counter whitening products, the ADA has implemented an “ADA Seal of Acceptance” for non-prescription bleaching systems considered effective and reliable by the organization. Teeth bleaching may not be the best option for patients with tooth-colored restorations, and our dentists will fully assess your needs before recommending whitening as part of your treatment plan.
When can I eat again after teeth whitening?
Our dentists recommend waiting at least 30 minutes after your whitening treatment before eating or drinking. It’s also suggested to only consume colorless food and drink for at least 48 hours to minimize the risk of staining your newly brightened teeth. This “white” diet may include rice, poultry, white fish, or pasta with white sauce, among other colorless foods.
How often should I whiten my teeth?
The recommended frequency of teeth whitening depends on your goals, sensitivity levels, and lifestyle habits. In general, many dentists recommend undergoing professional teeth whitening once per year with at-home touch-up treatments pursued as needed. If you often experience uncomfortable sensitivity after teeth whitening, we recommend decreasing your whitening regimen.
Are there any teeth whitening side effects?
Some teeth whitening patients experience mild sensitivity after treatment, but fortunately both the in-office and at-home bleaching systems offered at our Eureka practice can be very advantageous to those who are prone to post-whitening sensitivity. The comfortable fit of our whitening trays also usually cancels the possibility of gum irritation—the other side effect commonly associated with teeth whitening.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, or if you would like to schedule a consultation here at Eureka Smiles, please contact us today!