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Picture Perfect Whiteness: the Facts About Whitening Your Teeth

Spring brings weddings, graduations, and other social gatherings that make many people think about their smiles. I mean, think of all the pictures that one occasion entails!

Myth: Teeth start as perfectly white teeth.

FALSE! No one is born with perfectly white teeth. In fact, humans naturally have a hint of yellow or gray in their teeth, and this hint can vary over a range of intensity.

Myth: Tooth whitening causes sensitivity.

KIND OF TRUE! Tooth whitening treatments can definitely cause sensitivity to cold during and for a short time following whitening. The degree of sensitivity varies from person to person but is usually only a temporary discomfort. Sensodyne is a toothpaste that is often suggested if a patient complains of tooth sensitivity (whether it's caused by whitening treatment or not).

Myth: Some teeth shades whiten easier and quicker than others.

TRUE! Yellowed teeth seem to have the best results, while some staining cause by antibiotics taken during tooth development or fluorosis can be nearly impossible to eradicate.

Myth: Teeth whitening is permanent.

FALSE! No matter what teeth whitening treatment you use, your teeth will become stained again at some point. The staining is determined by a number of factors including what you are consuming and your hydration. You can think of whitening like bleaching your hair - it doesn't last forever; it requires maintenance. And let's not forget that routine cleanings with the dentist is important to get rid of plaque!

Myth: I can get whitening no matter what dental work I need to get done.

FALSE! You need to get dental treatment done first because dental work (including bonding, fillings, and crowns) will not whiten.

Myth: Whitening is immediate when getting whitening done with the dentist.

MOSTLY FALSE! It is true that you can get whitening treatments done over one appointment with the dentist, but the results are often due to the drying of the teeth during the treatment (and dried out teeth look substantially whiter than normal, hydrated teeth). Thus, as the teeth begin to re-hydrate over the following days, some of the whiteness fades causing this method's results to be lacking. Most other treatments, including at-home applications, involve a more gradual shading to white.


What can we do for your whitening needs?

Although we can do in-office whitening treatments, we prefer the method of creating a custom tray for you to use at home. Besides the fact that this option is considerably less expensive than the in-office treatment, we have found that this method seems to cause less sensitivity, most stable whitening shade overtime, and be overall the most effective and practical.

So, what does this preferred method entail?

Special, clear trays are created by ​taking impressions of your teeth. After a couple of days, you would return to our office for a quick visit to ensure that the trays fit properly. (Trays that don't fit right greatly decrease the effectiveness of the whitening and may cause increased sensitivity if gel seeps to gumline.) At this visit, we will also give you instruction on how to use your trays and whitening gel.

The trays are worn nightly for about a week or a week and a half. Each night a small amount of whitening solution is applied to the trays. When your teeth are a shade of white that you like, you can stop. If whitening is desired again later on, the same tray can be used again. So, you can get a predictable result and choose the shade that you are happy with.

Want to learn more information or schedule an appointment?

Give us a call! Ankeny - (515)965-1653, Des Moines - (515)262-2655, Marshalltown - (641)753-1374

Happy Spring!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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