Brighten Your Smile in the New Year

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Smile Whitening Q&A with Dr. Jay

Q: When someone comes into your office and expresses that they would like to brighten their smile, what do you suggest to them?

A: We first need to make sure that the patient is a good candidate. Here at Dentistry for Madison, we base this off of the cause of discoloration which can either be stain oriented or something more intrinsic. Either way, if the client is a good candidate for teeth whitening or not, we provide them with options to improve their smile.

Q: Are “in home” whitening solutions as effective as the whitening you provide at Dentistry for Madison?

A: A lot of over the counter products are lessened strength compared to those used in dental practices. I have seen some great results from these at home options, however, what it really comes down to is the tray shape. The intimate contact of a custom tray achieves an evenly whitened smile, while the OSFA trays and strips can easily miss certain areas of one’s smile. To get the best result, you really need something that fits YOUR teeth.

Q: Do you recommend getting custom retainers over one size fits all retainers? Why?

A: Yes, as mentioned above, I strongly suggest getting custom trays to achieve the best end result. Custom trays solely place the whitening material on the surface of your teeth, as it should be. The danger of at home trays, or generic trays come into play when the whitening solution is reaching your gums. When an excess amount of whitening material is placed on your gum tissue, it can cause a sore or even a minor burn.

Q: Can teeth whitening products damage tooth enamel?

A: Years of research have been done regarding this topic and no link has been found between teeth whitening products and damage to tooth enamel. Those studying the topic have even taken electron micrographs of tooth structure only to discover that no harm was done to the enamel after being in contact with whitening products.

Enamel is hard and smooth but also quite porous meaning it will hold onto certain colors and stains over time. The materials we use to whiten teeth solely break down the surface stains, they do not affect the tooth or enamel.

Q: What are the worst things to eat or drink in terms of staining one’s smile?

A: Unfortunately, red wine is the highest on the list followed by a lot of teas and coffee. Anything acidic in nature can cause your teeth to stain.

Q: What’s your take on the trending whitening solutions such as charcoal or lemon toothpaste?

A: Charcoal is big. There will have to be more research done on this topic in the future, however, people seem to be raving about it at the moment. We are always a little worried about people whitening their smile with abrasives or acidic materials such as lemons. Years ago there was a product called “Pearl Drop” which was basically like using Comet on your teeth making them very sensitive.

Q: Is there anyone that wouldn’t benefit from whitening treatments?

A: Yes, indeed. There are often people that come to me solely expressing that they would like to whiten their teeth, however, after examining their smile I find that there are other, better routes to take in order to improve their smile. It may be that they have a crown on their front tooth that wouldn’t take to whitening or visible fillings that won’t whiten either. Not everyone is a perfect candidate for teeth whitening due to the materials already on their teeth, but there are so many other cosmetic procedures that can be done to improve a smile. Sometimes it may simply be whitening and changing fillings or even replacing broken dark teeth with veneers or crowns. All options can be discussed over a complimentary cosmetic consultation here at the office.

Keep in mind that cosmetic dentistry doesn’t have to be a huge overhaul. We are always trying to be conservative with our treatment as maintenance is key. Making small adjustments can make the biggest difference.

Q: How much does teeth whitening cost and how long does it usually take?

A: Whitening is somewhere between $250-300 which includes your custom trays.

Do you have a question regarding teeth whitening that wasn’t answered above? Give us a call at 608-719-4433 or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.

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