We know you would love to have bright, white, healthy-looking teeth and feel confident about your smile! Your smile is one of your greatest assets and a gift to share with others. 

Whether you are embarrassed to smile because your teeth are stained or you are tired of seeing yellow teeth in the mirror or on virtual meetings every day, there is hope! You do not have to keep hiding your teeth and being nervous to smile.

According to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey:

  • 99.7% of adults believe a smile is an important social asset. 
  • 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex.
  • 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chance for career success.
  • And when respondents were asked, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?” The most common response was: whiter and brighter teeth.

Whitening your teeth is the quickest way to make a big difference in creating the beautiful smile of your dreams. This is the reason why this easy treatment has become so popular. Thankfully, there are plenty of great ways to get your teeth whiter that are safe and effective.  The first step is to consult with your dentist to make the right choice for your teeth. 

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whiteners generally use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in varying concentrations to remove stains and discoloration. Carbamide peroxide releases hydrogen peroxide, which is a powerful oxidizing agent. Hydrogen peroxide can pass through the spaces in tooth enamel and, if the treatment lasts for sufficient time it can reach the dentin,  inner layer of the tooth.

Hydrogen Peroxide Concentration Levels

  • Over-the-counter (OTC )whitening products usually have 5-6% peroxide and include gum, mouthwash, strips, pens, paint-on gels, and whitening toothpaste. 
  • Take-home whitening kits from the dentist contain about 10-15% hydrogen peroxide.
  • In-office bleaching treatments have up to 40% hydrogen peroxide. 

Some whitening treatments also use LED light to speed the results or lasers to help remove stains.

It is wise to have a dental exam so your dentist can determine the exact cause of your tooth discoloration. This way, if there are any underlying medical issues, your dentist can help you correct them instead of wasting your time and money on a tooth whitener that will not treat the real problem.

Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Yes, teeth whitening products work for specific types of tooth discoloration. If you use a treatment designed for the stains or discolorations you are experiencing, you will see noticeable results.

Extrinsic Stains

DIY teeth whitening products (OTC) can help with superficial (extrinsic) tooth stains. Extrinsic stains are caused by coffee, cola drinks, red wine, and other highly pigmented foods (dark fruits/berries), tobacco products, and other environmental agents. These stains are often very responsive to OTC teeth whitening remedies like toothpaste, gum, or strips. 

Professional dental cleanings every six months and proper oral hygiene also help remove these external stains. It is important to note that OTC products will never be able to achieve the same level of whitening that the stronger products can. Also, OTC products are not a replacement for professional cleanings.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains go deeper than the surface and can be caused by conditions like fluorosis, tetracycline use in childhood, aging, genetic issues, or internal tooth health issues. Over-the-counter products cannot correct intrinsic stains because they just are not strong enough to penetrate deep into the enamel, dentin, and pulp.

The teeth whitening kits dentists provide to patients to take home or in-office dental bleaching procedures can correct both extrinsic and intrinsic stains. The results of these treatments are superior to those available with DIY treatments.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Treatment Take?

OTC teeth whitening products like mouthwash, gum, and toothpaste can take many months to get maximum results. OTC whitening strips, whitening pens, or whitening gel may achieve results in several weeks.

If you want faster results or you have staining that goes below the surface of your tooth enamel going to the dentist will get you the dazzling smile you want faster and with way less hassle. 

In just a couple of weeks with an at-home prescription teeth whitening tray, you can see remarkable results with bleaching extrinsic stains and some intrinsic tooth discoloration. Expect to wear your trays one to two hours per day. For more severe staining, treatment could take longer time.

After just one in-office treatment (about two hours), you can expect stunning results that get your teeth many shades lighter than any of the other products. We will also give you a take home prescription and trays to continue to improve your shade. 

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth whitening can have a few side effects including temporary tooth sensitivity and gum inflammation. Those who already have sensitive teeth may want to use a dentist to whiten their teeth to minimize these side effects. 

OTC whitening products are more likely to cause these side effects. A custom-fitted dental tray for prescription whitening keeps the whitening solution away from your gums.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

OTC treatment results generally last for about four months. Treatment will need to be repeated fairly often. Results are not as good as the treatments you could get from a dentist.

With take-home dental bleaching trays from the dentist or in-office whitening, results last for up to a year. 

Dental bleaching can remove current stains but it does not prevent future stains. Extend your results by avoiding tobacco products foods that stain your teeth like tea, coffee, chocolate, red wine, and turmeric.

Why Choose In-Office Teeth Whitening Services?

Professional teeth whitening is a fantastic option if you want a dazzling smile quickly because you get practically instant teeth whitening. Plus, you get much whiter teeth than you would with other methods. The best part is, this method works for practically any under-lying cause of tooth discoloration whether extrinsic or intrinsic tooth stains.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

Teeth whitening treatment OTC generally cost $20-$100. The cost depends on which product you use and how long you need to use it to get the results you want. A dentist take-home teeth whitening tray usually costs about $400. An in-office one-time treatment generally runs about $650-$1000. 

If you want teeth whitening that works, your dentist’s office is the place to go for the best teeth whitening methods!

Looking for a teeth whitening dentist in the Columbia, SC area? 

We would be glad to help you choose the whitening agent that works best for your teeth and your budget.

Learn More about Teeth Whitening — by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry