Teeth Whitening Solutions in Ponte Vedra Beach
At Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry, we understand that appearance is important. The teeth are often the first thing that captures someone's attention. We are proud to be serving the residents of Ponte Vedra Beach and surrounding areas with cosmetic dentistry procedures, including teeth whitening.
The FDA states that “bleaching” is allowed to be used when the teeth are able to be whitened beyond their natural color. Products that contain bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are included in this category. “Teeth whitening” by contrast is restoring the tooth’s natural color by removing debris and minor stains. This is why many over the counter products are allowed to use the term “whitening” when in fact it is a bit of a misnomer and the advertised results can be a bit misleading.
The Types of Tooth Stains
With teeth, there are two different types of staining: intrinsic stains and extrinsic stains.
- Intrinsic stains: These stains form on the inside of the teeth. They can occur from trauma, tetracycline staining, aging, and excessive ingestion of fluoride. While these stains in the past were considered permanent, now whitening can make an impact.
- Extrinsic stains: These are stains that are on the outer layers of the tooth. They can occur from drinking certain beverages, tobacco use, and routine wear and tear. These extrinsic stains that are not removed from normal brushing can be removed via whitening.
What Causes Staining?
- Trauma. Certain injuries can cause fractures in the teeth that can accumulate debris that can discolor the teeth.
- Age. Age correlates directly with tooth discoloration. Teeth are easier to whiten at earlier ages.
- Tooth thinness and translucency. Some people have tooth enamel that is thinner and more translucent than others. A thicker and more opaque tooth has an advantage in that it can be whitened more efficiently and effectively. The genetic makeup is what determines this from patient to patient. Transparency is one of the few situations in which whitening is not effective.
- Tobacco use. The use of tobacco can significantly stain teeth. The nicotine will leave deposits in the tooth structure that slowly soaks in and stains
- Diet. Certain foods can discolor the tooth structure. Teas, red wine, coffee, colas, and other colored foods can stain teeth. In addition to this, erosion from acidic food can wear away the enamel and allow the yellow dentin to show through.
How Does Tooth Whitening Work?
Teeth undergo discoloration over time. The outer layer of the tooth is called enamel, which is semi-translucent, crystalline, and porcelain-like. Over time, two major things can happen that will discolor the teeth. First of all, the enamel is not a regenerative material. As a result, it wears away to a certain extent over time and the layer underneath called dentin can show through. The dentin has a yellow coloration to it. Additionally, microfractures in the enamel can occur over time and fill with debris. This further discolors the tooth. Whitening will eliminate the coloration in the stains in these fractures and the teeth will appear whiter.
Is this Better than "Over the Counter" Products?
The main benefit of the products that can be purchased at the grocery store is their inexpensive nature. This is possibly the only benefit over professional whitening. Professional whitening procedures have an advantage over the over-the-counter products for several reasons. First, the strength of these products can be significantly different. The weak nature of the store bought products can make whitening an extremely slow process. Second, the dentist has had years of experience with whitening and can determine if the teeth can be whitened, the optimal shade, and possible barriers to success. Finally, one significant difference between the two is that the professional whitening trays will fit the teeth securely which allows for an even coating of the whitening gel. Over-the-counter trays often produce uneven results because the trays are not form-fitted to the teeth.
What is the Procedure?
A custom fitting tray made by the dentist is placed over your teeth. A small amount of the dispensed whitening gel is then placed inside the tray and remains there for a small period of time per day. The tray is made by impressions that are taken of your teeth. While sometimes results can be observed in a few days, it generally takes one to two weeks to see the full whitening potential in your teeth. It is important to observe that this is not a permanent procedure and periodic “touch-ups” should be done to maintain the optimal whitening quality.
What Products Do We Use?
White & Brite™ whitener, the first at-home tooth whitening system, is available in 10%, 16%, 22% and 30% carbamide peroxide strength kits. Deluxe Kits, Express Kits, Touch-Up Twin Packs in various strengths, and single syringe packages in 30% strength also offer a wide array of professional options for any patient's tooth whitening needs. All strengths have a pleasant mint flavor.
Single Visit Tooth Whitening
Opalescence Boost is a terrific system where patients can obtain whiter teeth in one hour. The forty percent hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel is applied evenly by your dentist. No bright and hot light is required because Opalescence Boost utilizes chemical activation. The American Dental Association in 2008 gave Opalescence Boost the highest grades in every area studied compared to other in office single visit whitening systems. This is an excellent and proven system for teeth to become brighter and whiter in one single visit.
Is Opalescence Boost for Everyone?
While for most patients this can be the ideal procedure, some patients may benefit from a take home system. Patients with hypersensitivity may benefit more from a system that delivers the bleaching agent at a lower dose over a longer period. Your dentist can determine if a take home system may be better for you. Some stains, like those produced from pre-eruption antibiotic use or excessive fluoride ingestion, can be a bit more stubborn and more difficult to remove.
Teeth Whitening FAQs
Do you have questions about teeth whitening in Ponte Vedra Beach? If so, you’re not alone. Many patients who are preparing to have their smiles brightened often wonder how long results will last as well as if there are risks involved. To help ease your mind and offer the greatest amount of transparency, our team has compiled a list of common questions asked by our patients about teeth whitening. If you need additional assistance or would like to discuss further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Can teeth whitening be combined with other cosmetic treatments?
Depending on your case and individual needs, it is possible to combine teeth whitening with other cosmetic treatments. Individuals who have minor chips or cracks may opt for another form of treatment but also inquire about ways to whiten their teeth. Although some solutions (i.e., veneers, dental crowns) cannot be whitened, professional tooth whitening can help to create a more even appearance.
How long will my results last?
The lifespan of your brighter smile truly depends on how well you take care of your teeth after treatment. In most cases, results can last six months or more, but if you continue to consume dark-colored foods and beverages, smoke, and practice other bad habits (i.e., nail-biting, chewing ice, using your teeth as tools), you will notice a dramatic decline in the aesthetics of your smile and require more frequent touch-ups to maintain a brighter smile.
Will my teeth become sensitive after tooth whitening?
It is natural for teeth to become sensitive immediately following a whitening treatment. Depending on the products used and the severity of your case, this feeling may only last 1-2 days, so it is temporary. Once this dissipates, you can expect your tooth sensitivity to return to normal. Should you experience problems beyond the first few days, contact our office.
Is whitening toothpaste enough to brighten my smile?
While it can be helpful to use whitening toothpaste, you should remember that it may only clear away surface stains, not those lying deep within the inner layers of your teeth. Also, it will not actually change the shade of your smile, so if you’re wanting to say goodbye to the discoloration, you’ll want to choose a professional method of teeth whitening over an over-the-counter kit or just simply using whitening toothpaste.
Will dental insurance cover the cost?
Teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic dental service and is not covered by dental insurance. Because it is not deemed “medically necessary,” you will likely need to look for an alternative way to pay for your treatment. Fortunately, at Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry, we are pleased to offer our patients flexible solutions. Whether it is applying for a payment plan through CareCredit, Citi Health Card, or Community First, you can pursue a whiter, brighter smile while staying well within your budget.