Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
What Is Teeth Whitening?
One of the most noticeable attributes of an attractive smile is bright, white teeth, we are pleased to offer both in-office and take-home tooth whitening options. Teeth whitening is easy and gives you dramatic results.
Cosmetic dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall provides her Philadelphia patients with the safest and most effective treatments rather than just the newest treatments. During your initial consultation, Dr. Marshall can assess your smile and determine which Philadelphia tooth whitening solution is best for you.
Why Do Teeth Get Stained?
The shade of your tooth enamel may be the result of:
- Eating habits – strongly pigmented foods such as blackberries or blueberries will stain the teeth
- Drinking habits – strongly pigmented drinks such as colas, black tea, coffee, or red wine also stain the teeth
- Smoking habits – nicotine causes yellow staining
- Drugs and chemicals – some will discolor the teeth; if tetracycline is given during childhood, it will embed stains as the teeth develop. This type of staining is deep and harder to remove.
- Genetic factors – we each have an inborn tooth enamel shade
Other factors that can discolor teeth include gum disease, tooth infection, medications, and trauma to the tooth. This type of darkening or discoloration does not respond to topical tooth whitening solutions. When the cause of your tooth discoloration is one of these factors, Dr. Marshall may recommend options such as tooth whitening with porcelain veneers or dental crowns to cover the tooth and improve its appearance.
Teeth Whitening Before & After
Disadvantages of At-Home Teeth Whitening
Whitening toothpastes contain abrasives or chemicals that may be mildly effective at removing surface stains but at a rather significant cost. These toothpastes can remove tooth enamel, resulting in increased sensitivity and risks for more advanced dental problems.
Whitening mouthwashes have never been proved to be effective at improving the color of teeth. Many even contain warnings that they should not be used on teeth that are severely discolored. Mouthwashes with alcohol can also weaken dental bonding used to hold crowns and other restorations in place.
The inferior application techniques of teeth bleaching kits often result in inconsistent results along with increased tooth sensitivity and aggravation of gum tissue. In many cases, even when take-home kits whiten teeth, the results are not long-lasting.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Dr. Marshall uses the Zoom! Teeth Whitening system, marketed by Discus Dental. It is a popular system with cosmetic dentists because it is effective and patients are very happy with the results. In a little over an hour, you can have your teeth brightened by about nine shades and go straight back to work or other daily activities.
The Zoom! system includes a take-home kit for later touch-ups. Some people use it immediately, confident that their teeth can become even whiter than our in-office procedures made them. The choice is yours, and before you leave we will show you how best to use the kit, including how much whitening gel to place in the customized trays.
At-Home KoR Whitening Deep Bleaching™
Dr. Marshall offers KoR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ take-home kits. KoR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ is a tooth whitening system. With the KoR system, you will take home customized tooth trays and complete tooth whitening treatment in the comfort of your own home. For optimal results and effective whitening, you must wear the whitening tray nightly for two weeks.
The advantages of KoR tooth whitening include:
- Eliminates the toughest tooth stains, including those caused by tetracycline.
- Customized trays seal in the bleaching gel, preventing it from escaping and keeping saliva out of the tray.
- The whitening gel in the tray maintains its potency for up to six hours, while most other gels start to degrade after the first 30 minutes of treatment.
- Reduces tooth sensitivity associated with whitening.
- Results are long-term and last many years.
Although you may obtain desirable results with the take-home trays alone, you can achieve the best results by combining your at-home treatment with an in-office treatment. Unlike Zoom! teeth whitening, KoR in-office treatment does not involve the use of a laser light, so the risk of tooth and gum sensitivity is significantly reduced.
Zoom! In-Office Teeth Whitening
Zoom! tooth whitening is powerful and highly effective. It is administered in our Philadelphia office, and you can also use take-home trays for touch-ups after the in-office treatment or to achieve even more dramatic whitening results.
Before the whitening treatment begins, your lips and gums are protected with a special gel. Next, the surfaces of your teeth are painted with a strong whitening agent. This agent is activated with a special light. After about 20 minutes, the whitening agent is removed, and then reapplied for two more treatments. Each whitening session takes about one hour, and can lighten your teeth as much as seven to 10 shades in a single session.
Tooth whitening treatments are available over the counter at your grocery store or drugstore; why opt for a professional, in-office treatment when you can use these less expensive alternatives? There are several reasons, not the least of which is that over the counter whitening treatments are simply not as effective as the professional strength treatments Dr. Marshall can provide in the comfort of her office.
Zoom! Teeth Whitening Patient Testimonial
“My visits at Dr. Marshall office exceed my expectations. Her team is so patient and friendly. I love my results from my Zoom whitening. My Invisalign is treatment going well. I look forward going to the dentist. Also the dental products I bring home are excellent. It is so nice to have a great smile.” ~ Josephine D.
Maintaining Your Teeth Whitening Results
After you undergo teeth whitening, it’s important to take steps to maintain your results for as long as possible. Your bright new smile won’t last forever, especially if you return to the habits that caused your teeth to darken in the first place. However, with a little care and attention, you can enjoy your pearly white smile for years to come.
Prevent Tooth Discoloration After Teeth Whitening
In addition to not smoking, you can prevent premature stains by limiting your intake of certain foods and beverages. Sugary snacks and drinks, especially those that are dark in color, will inevitably stain your teeth. By minimizing the amount of stain-causing foods you consume, you can help preserve your smile’s whiteness.
One easy way to limit the staining effect of dark beverages is to drink them through a straw. This will reduce your front teeth’s exposure to the substance, keeping your smile line white and attractive.
Do tooth whitening agents alter the color of previous dental work?
No. Dental porcelain and bonding are not affected by tooth whitening agents, and neither are gold alloys or dental amalgam. If you are planning any dental work such as porcelain veneers or tooth-colored fillings, you should have the tooth whitening done first so that Dr. Marshall can match the restoration material to your new tooth color.
What choices are there for effective tooth whitening?
To get it done effectively, avoid over-the-counter kits (the trays will not fit your mouth) and whitening toothpaste (some may contain abrasive ingredients that will remove enamel and end up giving you sensitive teeth). The quickest and most dramatic results come from an in-office procedure with a professional tooth whitening system. Dr. Marshall uses the Zoom! Teeth Whitening System for its speed and effectiveness.
Use of an at-home whitening kit provided by a cosmetic dentist can also be effective if you use it as directed. It takes longer, but offers you more convenience. Dr. Marshall offers a take-home kit and can have your trays custom-made for a snug fit.
Is tooth whitening feasible if you have sensitive teeth?
Yes. Please inform us if your teeth are particularly sensitive. If you choose to have in-office tooth whitening, we can prescribe you treatments to desensitize your teeth before the procedure.
Could the whitening agent damage my teeth?
There are no recorded instances of irreversible or structural damage caused by any tooth whitening methods. You may experience temporary tooth sensitivity, but that is not damaging to the tooth — it just feels a bit uncomfortable.
How quickly are tooth whitening results visible?
You will see immediate results from your in-office tooth whitening. At-home whitening is slower to show results and depends on how often you do the treatment and how consistently.