Teeth Whitening

There are many products and techniques available at Sun Dental Design for patients who want to achieve a brighter, whiter smile. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment at our Seattle dental office and talk to Dr. Sun about the differences between professional whitening and over-the-counter whitening.

FAQs about Teeth Whitening

I would like to whiten my teeth, but is it safe?

Tooth whitening is a safe, simple, and conservative procedure. Whiter teeth give you the extra confidence and create a great first impression. The results are fast, and worth the value you will receive.

How is a professional treatment different than an over-the-counter treatment of teeth whitening?

Bleaching kits at the pharmacy are one size fits all. It means if your gums and teeth do not conform to the trays provided, you may expose too much of your gums to the whitening agent. This will result in a fair bit of irritation for your gum tissue. A tray made by Sun Dental Design fits specifically to your teeth and will maximize the effect of the whitening gel on your teeth while minimizing its contact with the soft tissue of your mouth.

Of course, the most important part to having your teeth-whitening procedure at Sun Dental Design as opposed to buying a home-bleaching kit is that Dr. Sun will review your dental health and history to prior to your treatment. Evaluating for allergies or decayed teeth prior to whitening is critical to preventing damage to teeth or gums. We will also address how to treat existing crowns and fillings, as these types of restorations do not bleach as natural teeth do.

I have sensitive teeth, but I would like to whiten my teeth. What are some ways to treat tooth sensitivity when whitening my teeth?

Dr. Sun recommends the use of an in-office desensitizer, which is a paste that can be directly applied to your teeth in a single visit. Most of these in-office desensitizers can offer months or even years of relief from tooth sensitivity.

You can also try any one of the numerous over-the-counter tooth desensitizers that come in a rinse, gel, or toothpaste form. These products use mild anesthetics to dull the sensitivity of tooth enamel after the use of teeth whitening products. Many established brands of toothpaste, such as Crest®, Colgate®, and Sensodyne® offer formulas designed to treat sensitive teeth.

Switch to a toothbrush with soft bristles in order to treat tooth sensitivity when using teeth whitening products. Not only can a soft brush reduce wear and tear on the enamel of your teeth, but it will be gentler on your gums as well.

Brush your teeth with lukewarm water in order to avoid the pain that may accompany teeth that have undergone the whitening process. Avoid using water that is either too hot or too cold, as it can easily trigger pain.

Ask Dr. Sun about fluoride applications that can strengthen the outer enamel of your teeth and reduce discomfort. Ensure that the toothpaste or mouthwash you are currently using contains fluoride for extra protection.

What is involved in a professional whitening procedure?

Professional teeth whitening usually involves two visits. At the first appointment, impressions will be made of your teeth to fabricate a custom set of clear plastic trays. This will take approximately 20 minutes.

At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. You will also receive prescription whitening gel at the appropriate strength for your whitening needs. The trays are worn with the whitening gel twice a day for 30 minutes to one hour for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening.  It is normal to experience some tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped whitening.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always discuss an increase in tooth sensitivity with Dr. Sun before proceeding with a home remedy, such as a medicated paste or rinse. Tooth sensitivity may indicate another dental problem that is unrelated to whitening your teeth, such as receding gums or tooth decay.
  • If using an over-the-counter teeth whitening product that contains bleaching agents, avoid letting an excess amount come in contact with your mouth and gums. Always follow the directions thoroughly when using such a product, and consult with Dr. Sun and our staff if you feel discomfort immediately afterward.

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