With all of the over-the-counter products on the market claiming to whiten teeth, you may be wondering why anyone would visit a professional to have their teeth whitened. Well, the truth is, there are many benefits of professional teeth whitening from a clinic like The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC, that you simply can’t get from over-the-counter products. It’s important to look at these benefits before choosing an inferior product that may not be as effective.
What Are the Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening?
This is the most obvious benefit of getting your teeth whitened by a professional. Certainly, many over-the-counter (OTC) products claim to offer this as a benefit as well; however, with OTC products, you’re getting the same concentration of active whitening ingredient that everyone else gets, even if your teeth need more or less. Additionally, if you have crooked teeth, many OTC products are not able to whiten all surfaces of your teeth, so you won’t get the results you want.
When a professional whitens your teeth, they can customize the amount of whitening solution they use to ensure your teeth get the exact amount they need. You’ll also discover that professional teeth whitening is more effective than OTC products at actually whitening your teeth. Due to the lower concentration of active ingredient in OTC products, you’ll also have to use them much longer to see the same results you will get in a single session from a professional.
Another fairly obvious benefit of getting your teeth whitened by a professional is that you’ll have a healthier mouth. When the stains on your teeth are removed through the whitening process, your teeth will be healthier, which in turn, will make your gums healthier. Healthy gums are a sign of a healthy body, so the net effect of having your teeth whitened is to increase your overall health, but especially that of your mouth.
When you use OTC products to whiten your teeth, you’ll have to use it for days on end to see any real results. This is because to sell whitening products without a prescription, products must contain a limited amount of active ingredient. Since professionals can safely use a significantly higher concentration of the whitening solution, you can get the results you want in a single session. There is no need to schedule more sessions until you notice your teeth darkening again.
Having your teeth whitened by a professional means that you will have someone there for the entire procedure to monitor the amount of whitening solution you get at all times. The technician who is performing the treatment can adjust the amount of whitening agent you receive to ensure you get the results you want. With a home whitening kit, you cannot adjust the amount of whitening agent at all, unless you unsafely use more than recommended.
During the whitening process, your technician will be sure to cover your gums to protect them, which is another safety precaution that you aren’t able to do when using an OTC product. Plus, you don’t have to worry about an experienced professional not knowing how to use the whitening product and equipment. If you’re inexperienced at using an OTC whitening product, you actually could harm yourself without meaning to, especially if you don’t follow the directions exactly.
You might think that getting your teeth whitened by a professional is expensive, and it does cost more than one purchase of an OTC product. However, when you consider the results you get from a single session with a professional, it would take months to get from an OTC treatment, if you even get your desired results at all, you actually end up saving money with a professional. OTC treatments are not cheap, and multiple purchases add up quickly!
Professional teeth whitening is actually one of the most affordable cosmetic procedures available, and as such, even people who are unable to afford more extensive cosmetic procedures or surgeries can get their teeth whitened and dramatically transform their appearance. The benefits you receive from a simple whitening treatment make the investment well worth it. It’s a life-changing event that you can get at a reasonable price, which is hard to find these days.
You’ve probably seen commercials for OTC whitening products that show a model easily putting on whitening strips, or painting a whitening solution on their teeth, or using a tray full of whitening gel. They probably give you the impression that whitening your own teeth is simple. However, that’s not the case at all. The gels are sticky and the solution that’s painted on teeth is messy. There is a lot of clean up involved once you’re finished with a treatment.
When you have a professional whiten your teeth, however, there is no mess at all. You just sit back and let the expert apply the whitening agent, monitor your progress, and remove the agent when you’re finished. Any clean-up that is required will be done by the clinic, but since they’ve completed so many whitening treatments, there’s likely not much mess in the first place. In either situation, you won’t need to worry about any mess at all.
A main benefit of professional teeth whitening is that you’ll gain instant confidence. Again, OTC whitening treatments take a long time to work, and even then, you may not get the results you want. With just a single professional whitening treatment, your teeth will look amazing, and you’ll feel amazing as well. Your confidence will soar to new heights the minute you get up from the chair. What other event can give you such incredible confidence in under two hours?
More Youthful Appearance
The results you get from whitened teeth will make you look younger. Unfortunately, dingy teeth have an aging effect on people, so when you have stains from coffee, tea, or soda, you actually look older than you are. A bright, white smile takes focus away from any wrinkles you might have, even those around your mouth. Smiling makes you appear younger anyway, but a smile full of white teeth takes your youthful appearance to the next level.
What to Expect From a Whitening Session
Get a Checkup and Cleaning First
Before scheduling a session to get your teeth whitened, you’ll want to get a dental checkup and cleaning with your dentist. Explain that you are pursuing a treatment to get your teeth whiter so your dentist can ensure you are a good candidate for the treatment. At this time, your dentist will determine the level of treatment you’ll need to meet your goals. You’ll identify the whitening level you want to achieve based on your skin tone and other factors.
The cleaning will make sure that your whitening technician has a clean canvas to work on when performing the treatment. It removes any plaque and tartar that has accumulated since your last cleaning, which if present, can interfere with the whitening process and cause you not to achieve your goal. You may also want to purchase a tube of desensitizing toothpaste from your dentist to use following your treatment, especially if you tend to have sensitive teeth.
To prepare your mouth for a whitening session, the technician will use a lip retractor to keep your lips away from your teeth during the treatment. You will be able to bite down on the retractor with your molars so that your jaws will be comfortable the entire time. Gauze will also be placed in your mouth to soak up any saliva that is naturally produced while you have the retractor in your mouth.
Your gums will be protected from the whitening agent by a rubber dam and your lips and inner cheeks will be swabbed with a muco-protectant gel to keep them safe from the higher concentrations of whitening solution. These protections are the main reason why you should use a professional to get your teeth whitened rather than using at-home solutions, where your lips, gums, and inner cheeks are left exposed to the whitening agent.
One of the ways in which a professional whitening session works more quickly than OTC treatments is that the technician pairs the active whitening ingredient with a light to increase the intensity of the treatment. Without this light, you would have to return for multiple sessions, but because the light is used, you will see your desired results immediately. The whitening solution will be painted on your teeth, and then you’ll sit under the light for about 20 minutes.
After that time, your technician will remove the whitening agent from your teeth, check the whitening level, then prepare you for the next round by repainting a new coat of agent on your teeth. This process will repeat between three and four times, depending on the system used, how white you are trying to get your teeth, and the strength of the whitening agent used. As mentioned above, the entire session should take about 90 minutes, including prep time.
As already discussed, you will see results immediately, and they should match your expectations. Since a professional has handled your teeth whitening, they know how white they can get your teeth before they ever start your treatment, so you will already know what shade they will be when you’re done. You won’t have many restrictions following your treatment, but you should refrain from eating or drinking anything with a bright or deep color for 24 hours (coffee, tea, tomatoes, etc.).
Frequency of Treatment
You’ll need to get your teeth whitened again eventually, but the time between treatments varies for each person. This is because certain foods and drinks can darken your teeth more quickly than if you abstain from these items. For instance, liquids like tea, coffee, and red wine will cause your results to last a shorter amount of time. Foods that cause stains like beets and berries will also mean your teeth will need to be re-treated sooner than usual.
The one activity that will hasten your next whitening appointment is smoking. If at all possible, you should try to quit this habit so that your treatments aren’t in vain. Brushing your teeth twice a day will help mitigate the impact of smoking, staining foods, and dark drinks, but know that staining is inevitable. Some people can go as long as two years between whitening treatments, while others will need to reschedule after about six months.
Ready for Brighter Teeth?
Now that you know all about the benefits of professional teeth whitening and you understand what will happen during your treatment, are you ready to get that gleaming smile? If so, call or email the smile experts at The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC to schedule your initial consultation.