Dr. Sue Hollinsworth
Kent (East Hill), WA Dentist
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Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can really brighten up and enhance your smile. Teeth whitening is a safe and gentle process that utilizes a peroxide gel to lighten/whiten discolorations of your teeth caused by foods, beverages, minerals, tobacco, antibiotics, and aging. There are different options to choose from. To find the right one for you, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss the differences. 

The options for teeth whitening include in office, at home, and over- the- counter:

In Office Teeth Whitening

The first professional option is performed in a dental office and may include a whitening lamp or laser to enhance the immediacy and effectiveness of the whitening gel by accelerating the peroxide. The whitening gel is of a higher concentration and with some systems such as Zoom, the gel  is applied with the gums protected by a rubber dam.Oftentimes the system being used generally takes about 60-90 minutes and has some immediate results. We are pleased to offer the latest in-office whitening system called Sinsational Smiles. An LED light is used (no laser and no rubber dam). In as little as 20 minutes ,your smile can be brightened. Any in-office treatment is also followed up with at home whitening  to get the best results. In the past,this has been the most expensive whitening option, with Zoom going for as much as $600 per treatment. With Sinsational Smiles, the cost is merely $99 when combined with a patient's regular cleaning. For a nonpatient, the cost is $149 because an examination must be done to determine if you are a good candidate. The patient is then sent home with a whitening "pen" containing a 60 day supply of whitening gel to use once a day or as needed.

At Home Teeth Whitening

There are 2 types of professional at-home whitening options. The first involves custom-made trays that fit perfectly over your teeth and whitening gel available only through your dentist. Unlike over-the-counter strips, this process whitens all of your natural teeth and contains ingredients intended to provide maximum comfort. Results are excellent, althought the time it takes varies from person to person. The advantage of custom trays is that you can have them for years if they are cared for properly so you can rewhiten or touch up your teeth whenever you want by obtaining more peroxide gel from your dentist.

The other option consists of a package of preformed trays, usually a 10 day supply, with a similar high concentration gel. This is a less expensive option for those who want to try it out or who want to highlight their teeth. More packages can be purchased as needed or desired from your dentist.

Over-the-Counter

There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening options. These utilize whitening gel that is only  half the strength of what you can get professionally. They are less effective,therefore,they take longer to work.However, they are less expensive.

The most common option is teeth whitening strips which are thin, flexible plastic strips with a thin film of peroxide bleaching gel on one side.The gel is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing them into place to einsure contact with your teeth. Typically, whitening strips are worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.

Another option is paint-on teeth whiteners. With these, the gel is apllied to the teeth with a small brush. Paint-on whitening gel hardens in a film that coats the teeth which then dissolves in the mouth. Teeth whitening depends upon the gel being in contact with the teeth for a period of time. The longer and more intimate the contact, the better and faster the whitening

The least expensive options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes.These work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives. However, unlike peroxide gels used in professional whitening procedures, these do not lighten the actual color of your teeth.