Oral & Vision Health Blog

Whitening Your Teeth: Things to Consider

Thinking about making your pearly whites even whiter? Before you grab white strips off the shelf or order whitening systems online, make an appointment with your dentist. It’s a good idea to let him or her know what you’d like to do—and make sure it’s right for you.

Teeth whitening products have been around for awhile now and it’s safe to do. However, there can be risks. The bleach in the products can cause teeth to be highly sensitive (which can be uncomfortable and even painful).  Your dentist can take a look at your teeth and gums and determine if you’ll have problems or sensitivities. If sensitivity is the only issue, your dentist will recommend toothpastes and other products specifically for sensitive teeth.

Other considerations include:

  • The natural color of your teeth. Different colored teeth can respond to whitening differently. Yellow-tinted teeth respond well to whitening, while brown and gray don’t respond as much, if at all.
  • Bonding or fillings on your front teeth. If you’ve had either of these, whitening products won’t lighten the color of the materials. So they won’t match the rest of your whiter smile. You can consider veneers in this case.
  • Cost. Be sure to check your plan. Some plans cover cosmetic dentistry at a discount, some at a co-pay…and some not at all. Your Solstice plan should cover at a discount or co-pay, but be sure to look and make sure.
  • Professional whitening vs. at-home kits. No matter what, your dentist should be involved with the treatment—whether you have it done in the dentist’s office or at home. At-home kits are less expensive, but it also takes longer to see results and irritation to gums increases. You’ll want your dentist to keep an eye on that. Treatment by a dentist includes in-office whitening (more than one visit) or laser whitening (one visit). Professional teeth whitening can last from one to five years, depending on your habits (smoking, coffee, and red wine, for example, stain teeth more quickly).

Listen to your dentist’s advice. He or she can tell you if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening, and which method would work best.

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