Teeth Whitening in O’Fallon, IL
Many things can affect the color of your teeth, from medication and illness to using tobacco products and consuming beverages that stain teeth. Teeth whitening can restore your smile’s natural whiteness, improving the confidence you have in your smile and the overall appearance of your teeth.
At Lake Pointe Dental, our O’Fallon dentists offer teeth whitening services that fit your budget and your lifestyle. With options for in-office visits as well as products that help you whiten your teeth at home, you can depend on our team to provide you with the tools you need to brighten your smile.
We offer 3 ways to whiten your teeth:
In-office Zoom System
Power bleaching that is done in the office under our supervision. During Zoom whitening treatment, a focused light is used to enhance the effect of bleaching. Custom trays are made to allow the patient to do follow-up and touch-up bleaching at home, after the initial in-office treatment. Some patients who are taking certain medications which make them sensitive to the sun aren’t good candidates for this method of treatment, due to the risk of burns (similar to a bad sunburn).
Home Bleaching with Custom Trays
Home bleaching with custom trays offers the same end results as Zoom whitening, but for half the cost. The difference between Zoom whitening and whitening with custom trays at home is that this treatment takes 7-10 days to complete, while Zoom whitening provides immediate results.
Sheer White Strips
Sheer white strips provide excellent results even though they are not as powerful as Zoom whitening and bleaching with custom trays. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly at-home teeth whitening option, this is our least expensive whitening treatment.
Why Teeth Get Discolored
Tooth discoloration and stains are caused by a variety of things, from lifestyle habits to age and injuries. There are three types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related.
- Extrinsic – stains on the surface of the tooth caused by tobacco use and certain food and beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, soda, berries, hard candy, and tomato-based dishes
- Intrinsic – stains deeply rooted in the tooth that appear grayish. Caused by oral trauma or injury, tooth decay, certain medications, excess fluoride, and genetics
- Age-related – enamel begins to wear away with age causing teeth to appear yellow. Genetics, as well as extrinsic and intrinsic factors, can increase this type of discoloration
At-Home Teeth Whitening vs. In-Office Whitening
Teeth whitening is relatively low-cost and effective, making it one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. Nowadays, there is a wide range of at-home tooth whitening options available, but is the at-home teeth whitening process as safe and effective as in-office teeth whitening?
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is an excellent solution for many patients with healthy teeth and gums. In-office whitening is performed by trained dental professionals that know how to deliver safe, reliable, and effective results. During your consultation, your dentist will examine your oral health and determine if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening. Patients suffering from conditions such as tooth decay or gum disease may not be suitable for in-office whitening.
If you are an ideal candidate for in-office whitening, your dentist will create custom trays to be used at-home for touch-up bleaching and maintenance between in-office visits.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
At-home teeth whitening products are widely available at stores, but results may vary. If done improperly, teeth whitening strips, charcoal powder, and other at-home whitening treatments could wind up causing more harm than good. Specifically, for patients with underlying oral health issues.
For the best results with at-home teeth whitening, it’s best to discuss options with your dentist. Home bleaching with custom trays and sheer white strips are two cost-effective at-home whitening treatments that when supervised by a dental professional can give you the whitening results you desire.
Why Professional Teeth Whitening is Safer Than At-Home Whitening
Teeth whitening when done under the supervision of a dentist can be an effective and quick option for improving the appearance of your smile. Over the counter at-home whitening treatments often take longer to show results and can be harmful to those with underlying oral health issues.
The effects of tooth decay, gum recession, and other conditions can be exacerbated by at-home whitening treatments that are often at higher, uncontrolled strengths. Additionally, in patients with healthy teeth and gums, at-home whitening agents can cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation with prolonged use.
Professional teeth whitening typically only takes one hour, and the results are more immediate due to more concentrated treatment.
All whitening treatments have their limitations and are not always able to provide the results the patient is looking for. If you are looking to brighten your smile and bleaching is not for you, other treatments can achieve the results you are looking for.
Learn more about whether teeth whitening is the right option for you below with our FAQs, or contact Lake Pointe Dental today to schedule an appointment and learn about our other cosmetic dentistry services!
Teeth Whitening FAQs
The teeth whitening process can vary depending on the extent of the whitening done. Some dentists offer take-home kits while others have in-office visits available for stronger whitening gels and products.
In general, insurance companies consider teeth whitening within the scope of cosmetic dentistry and thus do not cover the costs associated with this service. However, every insurance company is different, and to better understand your coverage for services such as teeth whitening, it’s best if you discuss your questions with your insurance provider. Even if your provider does not cover it, our dental practice does offer financing options to help you get the teeth whitening treatment you need. Click here to see the insurance providers we work with.
Many factors play into the length of time that teeth whitening lasts. For example, smokers or those who drink beverages that stain teeth, such as red wine or coffee, may not have the same long-lasting effects as those who do not smoke or drink. Results following teeth whitening can last from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the potency of the treatment. Reducing exposure to staining agents like those mentioned above can reduce the need for touch-up procedures in the future.
The amount of time you should have teeth whitening done in a given period varies. In general, a touch-up once a year should help you maintain your desired look.
No, getting your teeth whitened does not damage the enamel of your teeth, although they can become more sensitive following the procedure. According to the American Dental Association, irreversible tooth damage as a result of whitening teeth is very rare.
Teeth whitening removes a protein layer from the tooth to whiten them, exposing a softer layer underneath enamel called dentin. This softer layer is packed with nerves which, after being exposed, can be sensitive for a time after teeth whitening occurs.
Like with any dental treatment, there are side effects following a tooth whitening procedure. Tooth sensitivity can occur after teeth whitening happens, but it typically subsides after a few days. You may notice drinking hot or cold beverages or food causes more pain than usual. The intensity and length of time associated with tooth sensitivity after whitening varies by patient.
Initial results from whitening should be immediately apparent following your appointment. You should see results from teeth whitening about 24 hours following the whitening process.
I have had other dental restorations done. Does teeth whitening damage crowns, veneers, and tooth-colored fillings?
Whitening your teeth does not damage your existing fillings, veneers, dental implants, or other dental restorations. However, you may want to consider replacing your restorations so that the shade matches your newly whitened teeth. Pre-existing dental work, therefore, may need to be replaced following whitening to give your teeth a more natural appearance. Our experienced cosmetic dentists can discuss these options with you during your consultation for teeth whitening.
How long after my teeth whitening treatment should I wait before having foods or drinks that could stain my teeth?
It is essential to wait at least 24-48 hours after your teeth whitening before having any foods or drinks (including coffee) that could stain your teeth. The teeth are more vulnerable during this time to staining, so keep those foods and drinks at bay until at least two days following treatment to sustain your newly whitened teeth.
When performed under the supervision of a dentist, both at-home and in-office whitening treatments can be a safe, effective method for whitening your teeth.
Generally, you should avoid food and drink, such as coffee, tea, tomato-based dishes, wine, fruit juices, and chocolate, that could re-stain or irritate sensitive teeth for at least 24-48 hours post-whitening.
Drinking coffee and other dark-colored foods and beverages after teeth whitening treatment can cause re-staining and harm sensitive teeth. To preserve the effects of treatment, you should wait at least 48 hours after teeth whitening treatment to drink coffee.
During the whitening process, the pores on your teeth open up. After treatment, it can take 48 hours for teeth pores to fully close up. It’s best to avoid food and drink that can cause staining because open teeth pores can easily absorb stain and discoloration, reducing or eliminating the effects of whitening.
For the best whitening results, you should brush your teeth before treatment, not after. Brushing before treatment removes all plaque from your teeth and ensures that the whitening agent will have the closest contact with your teeth.
Teeth whitening treatment opens up the pores on your teeth, which makes them more susceptible to re-staining for up to 48 hours after treatment. After having your teeth whitened, you should avoid dark-colored foods and beverages for up to 48 hours to get the best whitening results.
To keep your teeth bright, it’s best to avoid foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, beef, and tomato-based dishes, which can all potentially stain your teeth.
After whitening treatment, your teeth may be sensitive and dehydrate. However, this generally only lasts for between 12-36 hours after treatment. Teeth naturally rehydrate, but to speed up rehydration, fluoride treatment can help.
Teeth whitening treatment doesn’t cause white tooth stains, but rather can potentially make existing stains more visible. White tooth stains are caused by Hypocalcification, which is a loss of calcium in the tooth enamel that causes discoloration. Hypocalcification is caused by high levels of fluoride, a high-sugar/acid diet, or excess plaque. To remove white spots on teeth and to prevent re-staining, daily brushing/flossing, at-home bleach touch-ups, and regular whitening treatments with your dentist can help.
This is a common dental myth. No, professional teeth whitening will not damage the enamel on your teeth. However, many DIY whitening methods, which are often made from high-strength, uncontrolled whitening agents, can cause permanent damage to the enamel on your teeth.
Not all teeth whitening treatments are equal. The results that professional teeth whitening provides are incomparable to DIY at-home treatment. Professional teeth whitening is safe, effective, and provides long-lasting results, whereas at-home DIY whitening can be harmful and take weeks to give you results.