Does Teeth Whitening Work and Is It Worth It?

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Today I'm going to talk about one of the most requested cosmetic dentistry procedures on the market today, professional teeth whitening. Does teeth whitening work, and is it worth it?

Over the past 24 years, I have helped some of the biggest celebs in the game with their smiles like Cardi B, Wendy Williams, and Anthony Anderson. I'm going to tackle some of your most frequently asked questions that I get about how to achieve a whiter smile with professional teeth whitening.

 

Are Discolored and Stained Teeth Holding You Back?

You'd be surprised how many people let their discolored and stained teeth hold them back from just smiling freely every day. This can prevent some from smiling in their profile pictures, networking with their colleagues or even potential clients, or showing their smiles during their in-person meetings, or their Zoom business meetings.

Many people don't do anything to improve the color of their smiles because they simply just don't know what whitening options are available, or they just question if teeth whitening even works. If you are one of these people, my goal today is to help you get that beautiful, confident pearly white smile that you've been dreaming of. So, let's get into it.

 

How Do Dentists Whiten Teeth?

How do dentists or certified teeth whitening specialists whiten teeth? The first thing that you need to know is that your tooth has two layers, the outer enamel layer, which is naturally white. This is the area that shows in your smile. Underneath that you have the yellow layer which is called dentin, it's naturally yellow.

The darker the color of your teeth, the stronger the product we'll need to use on them to get them whiter. Most of the over-the-counter products sold in stores and online don't quite have enough of the active ingredient, which is hydrogen peroxide to penetrate through the enamel, to get to that yellow layer, to get the yellow out.

They may have anywhere between 1 to 10% hydrogen peroxide, so many people find themselves spending tons of money on store-bought products that will never work for the color of their teeth.

When you visit a dentist or a teeth whitening specialist, we'll have the right products that are strong enough to get the yellow out, and in most instances, it'll take about an hour, and we use anywhere between 16% and 25% teeth whitening gels in our offices.

 

does teeth whitening work

 

How Does Teeth Whitening Work? 5 Steps To A Whiter Smile!

Okay, so here's how professional teeth whitening works in five easy steps.

 

1. Teeth Whitening Exam and Color Analysis

We'll examine your teeth and make sure that your teeth are healthy and that you are a candidate for whitening. We'll document the starting color of your teeth with a tooth color chart and take before photos.

2. Teeth Protection

In this step, your dentist or certified teeth whitening specialist will use a cheek retractor device to get your lips and your cheeks away from your teeth. We don't want any of that hydrogen peroxide gel to get on any of your soft tissues surrounding your teeth.

3. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide Gel

Now your dentist will apply the hydrogen peroxide gel directly to all of the teeth showing when you smile. This is a stronger gel, so we'll have to monitor you throughout the procedure to make sure your teeth whitening experience is safe and comfortable.

4. Activate the LED Light

Your teeth whitening professional will use an LED lamp, which is used to accelerate the whitening process. You'll sit underneath the light for about 15 to 20 minutes, and after that 15 to 20 minutes, the gel is removed and a new batch of gel is applied.  This process is repeated either three to four times, depending on what whitening system your dental professional or teeth whitening specialist is using, and it will usually take an hour.

5. Take 'After' Photos

And finally for step five comes the before and after photos. We'll analyze the color of your teeth, and take your 'after' photos to see how well you did, and then we'll give you your aftercare instructions, and I'll talk more about this later.

 

 

Does Teeth Whitening Damage Your Teeth

 

Does Teeth Whitening Damage Your Teeth?

The answer is no, there's a myth out there that the white may constrict the enamel and weaken your teeth, and that is false. The active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide in the teeth whitening gel, and all it does is it penetrates through the pores of the enamel, and it gets into that yellow layer, it foams up and does deep cleaning.  That deep cleaning gets the yellow layer brighter so that overall you have a brighter smile.

I'm happy to share that when you choose a teeth whitening professional that has been properly trained, that knows how to properly evaluate your teeth to make sure that they're healthy and they use the right products, the teeth whitening procedure is totally safe for your tooth enamel.

 

Does Professional Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

So another frequently asked question that I get, "will teeth whitening cause any sensitivity?" Well, not everyone experiences tooth sensitivity with teeth whitening, but it is one of the possible temporary side effects that can occur when you whiten your teeth professionally, or even whitening them at home.

While the peroxide is working on the inside of your teeth underneath the tooth's enamel, where the yellow color is located, there's a possibility that the nerve, which is also underneath the enamel, underneath that dentin layer, may feel the hydrogen peroxide working it's cleaning magic.

You can possibly feel a sensation that similar to eating cold ice cream on your teeth during the procedure and up to 24 to 48 hours tops! Then it all goes away when the pores close up. If you happen to be nervous about feeling sensitivity while whitening your teeth, I can certainly give you some practical tips on how to prepare for whitening, like brushing with a sensitive formula toothpaste for a few weeks before you do the whitening procedure. This will put a protective layer over the nerve so that your nerve endings don't get stimulated by the peroxide working inside your teeth.  This is just one of the many tricks that I recommend to help my clients have a comfortable whitening experience.

 

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

The cost of teeth whitening can vary tremendously throughout the United States, depending on the region, the city, and even the zip code of the whitening business. The experience and training of the teeth whitening specialists will also dictate the fees.

A licensed dentist or dental hygienist may charge between $300 and a thousand dollars for a one-hour whitening session. Non-licensed dental industry professionals, like dental assistants, may be able to charge anywhere between $75 to $200 per hour. That also goes for your beauticians, your estheticians, and anyone that's performing the whitening service as a non-dental professional.

Just keep in mind, that cheap is not always good. Always ask about the training experience before selecting your teeth whitening professional.

 

How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Take

 

How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Take?

A typical teeth whitening procedure takes about one hour of chair time with the gel on the teeth and sitting underneath the LED light. Your provider may need about 15 minutes to 30 minutes of preparation time, and to give you those post-whitening instructions, so you know exactly what to do after you leave the office.

 

How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Last?

Well, unfortunately, teeth whitening does not last forever. Touch-ups may be needed after six months, or up to two years after, depending on how well you maintain your smile.

 

How To Keep Teeth White After Whitening

Another huge question that I get about teeth whitening is, how do you keep your teeth white after your whitening session? Well, if you want to maintain a whiter smile for as long as possible after your whitening session, you will need to practice good habits, and I have four things that you need to know.

  • Recognize and even minimize the culprits that could be staining your teeth, like consuming coffee, tea, dark colas, dark wines, dark berries, and even smoking.
  • Using the proper tools is key. I highly recommend that you use something like a high-power sonic toothbrush, and pick up a Waterpik. When you use these two powerful tools together, baby it's like a carwash for your smile.
  • There are some teeth whitening products that you can purchase on the market like activated charcoal. It's amazing for keeping the stains off your teeth and for keeping your smile bright. There are also some recipes that you can do at home with products that you probably already have in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.
  • Also, if you really want to keep your teeth white for as long as possible, make sure that you see your dentist every six months. What they're going to do is remove the plaque, the hard tartar, and even the stains that you didn't remove at home properly.

 

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost

Does Teeth Whitening Work and Is It Worth It?

So overall, does teeth whitening work, and is it worth it? My answer is an absolute, yes! Proctor and Gamble did a teeth whitening study, in fact, and here's what they found.

58% of the people in the study were more likely to get hired, and 53% got higher salary offers after their teeth had been whitened. The study also found that people wanted to date the participants 54% more of the time after their teeth have been whitened. 

Another survey revealed that 96% of American adults believe that having an attractive smile makes you more appealing to the opposite sex. Having a white smile can make you more confident, happier, and more successful in every area of your life.

 

Are You A Good Candidate For Professional Teeth Whitening?

If you've been thinking about having whiter teeth and you want to see if you're a candidate for teeth whitening, so you don't have to waste money on products and services that may not be right for you, I'll be happy to take a look at your smile at no cost to help you make the right teeth whitening choice for your smile. Click here to see if you are a candidate for professional teeth whitening.

Catrise Austin, DDS