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Tooth Whitening FAQs

If you are looking for a unique holiday gift to give a close friend or family member, you could consider the gift of tooth whitening.  

The nice thing about this cosmetic procedure is that just about everyone would like whiter teeth! 

Tooth Whitening FAQs
Tooth Whitening FAQs

Thanks to technological advancements, there are also at-home kits that can easily rival what used to be done only at the dentist’s office. In addition, if you are looking to brighten your own smile, Dr. Marchbanks is offering free teeth whitening treatments this month for five new patients. Not bad! All you have to do is book a teeth cleaning with our Arlington office. You start by getting dental x-rays and a professional cleaning, and then you can book a teeth whitening treatment for free (a $289 value). You just have to book NOW to be one of the first five new patients!  

If you are considering a teeth whitening treatment for yourself or a loved one, the options can be a little overwhelming. There could also be harmful side effects for your teeth if you choose the wrong treatment or apply an at-home option incorrectly. Below, we’ll break down different forms of tooth whiting, including natural, at-home and in-office. As the holiday parties swirl, now is a great time to brighten your teeth and show off your smile! 

Natural tooth whitening 

Question: Does it actually work? 

While there isn’t much evidence to show that natural tooth whitening works as well as other methods, some of our patients like to try it first before moving on to chemical-based treatments.  

Question: What are my natural options? 

Baking soda has natural whitening agents in it, which makes it a popular component of commercial toothpastes. In addition, its mildly abrasive nature helps to scrub away stains on your teeth. Some studies have found that toothpastes containing baking soda were significantly more effective at removing yellow stains from teeth than standard toothpastes without baking soda. The higher the concentration of baking soda, the greater the effect. 

Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes also used due to its ability to kill bacteria. It is important to note that only heavily diluted concentrations appear to be safe—stronger concentrations or overuse, however, can cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. 

Apple cider vinegar is used as a natural remedy for many oral conditions. Acetic acid, which is the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, effectively kills bacteria. The antibacterial property of vinegar is what makes it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth. Due to the high acidity, it is important that this home treatment be used sparingly. Consuming too much acid can harm the enamel on your teeth and make them dangerously soft. Dilute apple cider vinegar in water to use as a mouth wash to cut down on the acidic properties.  

At-home tooth whitening options 

Question: Are they safe? 

Yes, generally these products are safe. However, excessive teeth whitening is more likely to result from abusing over-the-counter whiteners as opposed to in-office services. We recommend using at-home kits for a maximum of two weeks at a time. While some treatments may boast a 30-day regimen, those are more likely to cause harm. In addition, after completing a two-week at-home treatment, it is important to give your teeth at least six months to rest.  

Question: Types of products 

At-home products range from easy and affordable options (like mouthwashes that boast whitening properties) to more technologically-advanced products such as the GLO. When choosing an at-home product, it’s important to choose one that contains between 10 and 12% hydrogen peroxide, which is the standard whitening agent.  

Question: Do they work? 

Home whitening kits generally perform as their labeling indicates. But there are some differences in effects between at-home kits and a professional application.  

Although at-home kits usually uses the same whitening agents, their strength is much lower than a professional teeth whitening treatment. This means it will take much longer to achieve the desired whitening effect that a professional application. In addition, home kits are only effective on surface stains—discoloration within a tooth requires treatment by a dentist. 

In-office professional tooth whitening treatments 

Question: What can I expect? 

If you choose a teeth bleaching option, you will be fitted with a custom mouth tray for the treatments. These treatments can be done at home, however can require several office visits to ensure the amount of whitening solution applied is correct and that you are reaching your desired outcome.  

Laser bleaching is great option for patients who want to be done in a single visit. At our Arlington office, a bleaching agent is applied to your teeth and then a laser is used to activate energy-absorbing crystals that penetrate the teeth enamel, thus producing a brightening effect. While this method is more of an investment than others, it is the quickest and ensures the most noticeable results.  

Question: Why now? 

If tooth whitening is something you’re considering, don’t let this opportunity pass you by! The end of the year is a great time to get your teeth whitened. If you have unused funds in your FSA or HSA, these treatments could qualify. Contact us to learn more! 

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