Teeth Whitening in Scripps Ranch
Nothing dulls the sparkle of a smile like stained or discolored teeth. Luckily, cosmetic dentists can lighten stains and create brighter looking teeth through teeth whitening treatment. Dr. Jennifer
Santoro at Village Center Dentistry offers the option of in-office whitening or at-home whitening. Dr. Santoro will work with you one-on-one to determine whether whitening may be effective for your specific stains; and if it is, the type of whitening that is best suited to your schedule, budget and lifestyle.
What Can Teeth Whitening Improve?
Teeth whitening can improve extrinsic stains, or stains that affect the outer layer of tooth enamel. These surface stains are often caused by the consumption of coffee, tea and red wine, or tobacco, which have highly pigmented molecules that attach to the tooth’s enamel and change the color of the enamel.
Teeth whitening treatment may also be effective on some types of deeper intrinsic stains, or stains that affect the softer, more porous layer under the enamel called dentin. Over time and with age, the enamel starts to get thinner and the darker dentin starts to show.
Teeth whitening involves using special tooth bleaches to lift extrinsic and intrinsic stains by breaking up the highly pigmented molecules into smaller, less colored molecules.
In-Office versus At-Home Whitening
In-Office Teeth Whitening Details
When supervised by an experienced dentist, in-office and at-home whitening are both safe and effective options. In-office whitening with the Zoom! system involves applying a stronger bleaching gel to the teeth and activating it with a special light. This is a good option if you like instant results and want to have the whitest smile your teeth allow in two hours. Dr. Santoro’s assistant will be monitoring the process for any sensitivity that may occur and will take special measures to prevent discomfort. In-office whitening allows your teeth to look up to 8 shades lighter!
At-Home Teeth Whitening Details
At-home whitening entails wearing special whitening trays every day for a specified period of time; usually, it’s anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This is a great option if you are constantly on the go and wish to whiten at your convenience. This is a great option if you have sensitive teeth because the trays are completely custom to your teeth and you can adjust the length and strength of bleach to make you comfortable. Dr. Santoro will walk you through all of these options. If you decide at-home whitening fits your lifestyle and budget, we recommend having customized whitening trays created for your mouth. These trays are molded to your teeth and fit very well, unlike stock trays which can leak whitening gel that irritates the soft tissues of your mouth.
Sometimes, we recommend using a combination of both approaches; for example, following up an in-office appointment with the use of at-home trays for a week or so months later as your teeth tend to darken with your lifestyle.
It’s important to understand that whitening does not work on all teeth in every case. For instance, it usually is not effective on tooth discoloration caused by medications like tetracycline and other antibiotics.
If whitening fails to deliver the desired results, crowns, veneers or fillings may be used to cover up the stains or discoloration.
Recovering from Teeth Whitening
For 24 hours after an in-office teeth whitening treatment, you should avoid smoking and any foods or beverages that could stain your teeth. Your teeth are highly susceptible to absorbing stains immediately after your treatment.
Stick to clear or white beverages like water or milk and plain foods like chicken, potatoes, pasta and white rice. As a rule of thumb, avoid anything that could leave a stain on a white shirt. If you plan to drink coffee, drink it through a straw to prevent it from making contact with your teeth.
Brush and floss as you normally would. If you experience any sensitivity, use a desensitizing toothpaste. If you have any sharp pain or “zingers” after treatment, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
How to Ensure the Best Results from Zoom! Whitening
Ensuring the best results from Zoom! whitening begins with selecting a reputable dental team that has a lot of experience.
It is important that you have a recent professional dental cleaning to get rid of any plaque or calculus that could interfere with your results.
We’ve also noticed a difference in post-operative sensitivity when the teeth are significantly hydrated. Before a whitening treatment, we recommend you drink at least five 8-ounce glasses of water a day for a week to ensure the teeth are properly hydrated. If the teeth are dehydrated, it could lead to increased post-operative sensitivity for the next 24 to 48 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Whitening
Are there risks to teeth whitening?
When supervised by a professional dentist, teeth whitening is usually very safe. It may cause temporary tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
How long do the results last?
Teeth whitening results can last anywhere from a few months to three years. How long your results last will depend on whether you smoke, eat or drink foods or beverages that are known to stain teeth.
Can I eat or drink before the procedure?
Yes, you can eat or drink prior to your teeth whitening treatment. Be sure to brush your teeth before you leave for your appointment! We also recommend you drink plenty of water the week prior to your in-office whitening procedure to decrease post-operative sensitivity.
Can teeth whitening be combined with another dental procedure?
Yes. Teeth whitening can be combined with other procedures such as the placement of porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Do I have to change certain habits after teeth whitening?
You should not smoke or eat or drink anything that could stain your teeth. You should brush and floss every day and see Dr. Santoro at least twice a year for an exam and professional cleaning.
Can I whiten crowns, veneers and dentures?
No. Dental restorations do not respond to whitening treatment.
Is there a way to whiten my teeth with more brushing and flossing?
Although brushing and flossing alone will not significantly lighten the teeth, they are important practices to make the teeth appear brighter.
Brushing and flossing remove debris and plaque that gets stuck on and in between the teeth and along the gumline. Think of the way a vacuum improves the appearance of a carpet — it does not change the carpet’s color; rather, it removes dust and dirt to make the carpet appear brighter.
Schedule Your Teeth Whitening Consultation
If you would like more information about chairside teeth whitening or take-home whitening trays, please contact our dental practice. We would be happy to answer your questions or schedule an appointment for you to meet with Dr. Santoro. Call 858-566-8510 or email us today.