Q: What is tooth whitening?
A: Tooth whitening, also known as bleaching, uses various processes to lighten your teeth from their original color to a brighter, whiter smile. Reasons people have their teeth whitened are either to get rid of stains or simply for a whiter color.
Q: How does tooth whitening work?
A: Most tooth whitening materials have a peroxide ingredient. When this agent comes into contact with water it releases hydrogen peroxide, which then lightens the color of the teeth.
Q: What are some methods used to whiten teeth?
A: There are several methods available to whiten teeth.
- Dental office procedures – Dr. Konig uses the BriteSmile™ tooth whitening procedure in his office.
- In-home whitening kits – There are also at-home kits that are used under a cosmetic dentist’s supervision.
- Porcelain veneers - These can produce the same effect as tooth whitening by simply placing a lighter shade of veneers on your teeth.
Q: What is BriteSmile™
A: BriteSmile™ is a tooth-whitening procedure that was developed under the supervision of Dr. John Warner, a former NASA scientist partly responsible for scientific and technical aspects of the Hubble Space Program, as well as the development of laser eye surgery.
Q: What is a BriteSmile™ Professional Teeth Whitening Center?
A: A BriteSmile™ Professional Teeth Whitening Center is a location offering the new BriteSmile™ 3000 state-of-the-art technology to “whiten your teeth and enormously enhance your personal appearance and aesthetics.” The new BriteSmile™ system delivers truly amazing results, whitening your teeth an average of nine shades whiter in just over an hour. Other procedures only offer 3-5 shades of change. BriteSmile™ Centers in the United States have improved the appearance of thousands of patients’ smiles, and Dr. Konig is one of only a few BriteSmile™ dentists in Texas.
Q: How does BriteSmile™ process work?
A: Dr. Konig uses gas plasma light technology plus a proprietary bleaching gel to brighten all your teeth at the same time. The primary ingredient in BriteSmile’s™ gel is hydrogen peroxide, which has been a recognized safe, effective whitening agent in the dental profession for over one hundred years. The percentage of hydrogen peroxide in BriteSmile’s™ proprietary gel is far lower than in most other whitening products, many of which contain as much as 35%-50% hydrogen peroxide.
Dr. Konig’s innovative light system activates the hydrogen peroxide in the gel to speed up the tooth-whitening procedure, giving your teeth their optimal whiteness in just over an hour.
Q: Is tooth whitening safe? Does it have any side effects?
A: Tooth whitening has been shown to be a safe and effective method of getting whiter teeth in many studies done over the years. Tooth whitening products have garnered the seal of approval from the American Dental Association (ADA).
The only side effects people may encounter are minor gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which should disappear at the end of the treatment.
Q: What causes tooth discoloration?
A: The enamel covering of the tooth can become discolored from things such as:
- Some Medications
Discoloration can also occur because of heredity or aging.
Q: How is home whitening performed?
A: If you prefer the convenience of whitening at home, you may do so under the supervision of the dentist. Usually it takes about two to three weeks to complete the treatment depending on the desired whiteness.
Q: What makes a good tooth whitening candidate?
A: Ninety percent of people or more make good candidates for tooth whitening. However, if your stains were caused by fluorosis or tetracycline, you may get lighter teeth, but the results generally aren’t as striking compared to the results on other types of stains.
You may not be considered a good candidate for a tooth whitening procedure if you have:
- Extremely sensitive teeth
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Worn enamel on your teeth
Q: How long do whitening results last?
A: There is no definite answer because each whitening patient is different. Factors that can cause differing lengths of results include your heredity and how many staining foods and drinks you consume following treatment. A lot of whitening patients can see results last anywhere from one to three years without needing major touchups.
If you want longer lasting results, porcelain veneers are an alternative that can give you a whiter smile for a much longer period of time.
Q: What results can I expect with tooth whitening?
A: Because everyone is different, there is no way to tell for sure how much lighter you teeth will get. You can usually expect at least a two-shade improvement from your original coloring. However, the amount of whitening achieved also depends on what type of stains or discoloration you have and how well you follow the dentist’s orders. If your teeth are gray, for example, you will probably only achieve a lighter shade of gray. Also, whitening does not work on artificial dental materials in your mouth such as resin, composite, or porcelain.
Q: What if I have tetracycline stains?
A: If your teeth are stained from tetracycline, the problem is usually that your teeth aren’t evenly discolored, but rather have light and dark bands across them. Because of this, the whitening process will lighten everything equally, so your teeth will still have bands only in a lighter coloration. If you want to eliminate these stains completely, the most effective option is to cover them with dental crowns or porcelain veneers.
Q: What can I do for yellow teeth?
A: The best solution for yellow teeth is usually professional BriteSmile™ in-office procedure. This can also be combined with a take-home kit for even better results.
Q: What can I do for very dark stains?
A: A: After our hygienists clean your teeth, Houston Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Konig will evaluate your stains since he will only be able to determine the true amount of discoloration you have at that point. Then Dr. Konig will recommend the in-office BriteSmile™ procedure, a take-home kit, or porcelain veneers, depending on the extent of the staining.
Q: What about over-the-counter whitening products?
A: People often tell us that they aren’t satisfied with over-the-counter whitening products’ results. Because the causes of discoloration differ, and because the over-the-counter products can be difficult to use, people generally get better results with in-office whitening or dentist-supervised home treatments.
For more information about tooth whitening in Houston, or to schedule a consultation in our Houston, Texas office, please email or call us today.
Providing cosmetic dentistry smile makeovers for patients in the Houston, Texas area including Galveston, Katy, Sugar Land and across the U.S.