Teeth Whitening

There are lots of ways to whiten your teeth, but professional teeth whitening remains the fastest, most effective way to brighten your smile!

Picture of two smiles. The one on the left has yellow teeth while the one on the right has white teeth.
The teeth whitening treatments that we provide in our office are the safest and strongest whitening methods currently available.

Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry treatment performed in dental offices across the United States.

It is the fastest and most conservative way to improve your smile. There are countless teeth whitening options accessible in the US market today.  The teeth whitening treatments that we provide in our office are the safest and strongest whitening methods currently available.

Dr Chris Campus

“Professional teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry treatment in the U.S. It’s safe, quick, inexpensive, and extremely effective at removing persistent stains.”

— Dr. Christopher Campus

Dr. Campus and his staff have offered teeth whitening in Pensacola for over ten years.

Who Should Whiten Their Teeth?

Because teeth whitening is an optional cosmetic treatment, the answer to that question is subjective.  After all, anyone can choose to whiten his or her teeth to brighten and improve the smile.  Because teeth whitening is safe and conservative, there are relatively few contraindications to it (covered under “Who Should Not Whiten Their Teeth?”).  Most people simply know that they want to whiten their teeth.  If you, however, do not, you could ask yourself those questions:

  • Are your teeth yellower or darker than the whites of your eyes?
  • Do you have old dental crowns that stand out because they are brighter or whiter than your natural teeth?
  • Do you notice that your smile looks less vibrant when compared to old photos or yourself?
  • Do you drink coffee, tea, or red wine on a regular basis and have general staining?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, whitening your teeth may help you meet your smile goals.

Who Should Not Whiten Their Teeth?

The great news is that almost anyone can whiten his or her teeth.  There are a few specific scenarios of people who should not whiten their teeth.

  • Pregnant women
  • Someone with untreated dental problems like large cavities and gum disease
  • Children under the age of 13 years

If you fall into any of these categories, please call to set up a consultation with our dentists to get some advice.

Teeth Whitening Alternatives

Maybe you have already tried professional teeth whitening and did not get the result you desired.  Perhaps your teeth are too sensitive for traditional teeth whitening.  If you are interested in alternatives to teeth whitening, the first step is a cosmetic consultation with one of our dentists.

If whitening your natural teeth is not the best option for you, our dentists will discuss the alternatives of covering the teeth with a dental restorative material to create the whiter, brighter appearance you desire.  These treatment options include porcelain veneers and crowns.

How Teeth Whitening Works

True teeth whitening always involves a product that uses a peroxide chemical as its active ingredient.  Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide (which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide) are the most commonly found ingredients in teeth whitening treatments.  They penetrate teeth enamel and oxidize (break down) dark colored compounds within the tooth itself.

Any whitening method or product that does not contain a peroxide compound only polishes away external stains.  Peroxide is necessary to actually change the color of teeth.

The In-Office Teeth Whitening Process

When you need whiter teeth as fast as possible, in-office teeth whitening with BOOST is the best choice.  This procedure uses the highest concentration of whitening gel to produce the fastest results.  This gel is so strong that it could seriously damage your teeth and gums if used improperly. That’s why a dental professional must apply and oversee this type of teeth whitening.

After placing barriers to protect your lips, cheeks, tongue, and gum tissue, the high strength gel is applied to the teeth in 2-3 sessions of 20 minutes.  We closely monitor your comfort during these sessions.  While there is no guarantee regarding the results, most people experience 4-5 shades of whitening in about an hour.

In order to help you maintain these whitening results, we include take-home whitening in our in-office whitening treatments.  In addition to providing maintenance whitening, this also allows you to continue whitening for an even greater result if you so desire.

The At-Home Teeth Whitening Process

Considered the gold standard in teeth whitening, at-home whitening with custom-fitted trays and professional strength gel gives the most predictable teeth whitening result possible.  At-home teeth whitening can achieve the same results as in-office teeth whitening; it just takes a few weeks instead of a single dental appointment.  Both the custom trays and the professional gel are responsible for such great results.

Custom Whitening Trays

We make custom-fitted trays from exact replicas of our patients’ teeth.  These trays are durable and will last for many years.  Because they fit each individual person’s teeth intimately, they keep the whitening gel in contact with the teeth for the duration of the whitening process.  This is in contrast to generic trays that allow the gel to pool in the excess space in the lower half of the tray.

Custom-fitted trays also allow us to specify where the gel goes and where it does not go.  If there is an area of sensitivity caused by gum recession, we can modify the tray to keep the gel away from this area.

Professional Whitening Gel

There are countless brands and formulations of teeth whitening gel on the market today, both professional strength and over-the-counter.  We use the highest-rated and consistently award-winning whitening gel: Opalescence PF whitening gel by Ultradent.  There are lots of reasons we consider Opalescence the best.

First of all, it is available in different concentrations, allowing us to choose which strength will best meet each individual patient’s needs.

The PF means that it contains both potassium nitrate and fluoride, which fight tooth sensitivity and strengthen tooth enamel.

Opalescence, as well as BOOST, is made in the USA!

Post-Whitening Instructions

In order to achieve and maintain the best whitening results, you should avoid eating or drinking dark colored foods and beverages for the first 48 hours.  Think of it as the “White T-shirt Rule”.  If it would stain a white t-shirt, do not eat or drink it!

If you have pain or severe sensitivity, take over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil.  If you experience any discomfort that lasts for more than 2-3 days, let your dentist know.

Immediately after whitening, chewing sugar-free gum can reduce sensitivity by stimulating the production of protective saliva.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Yes.

Both in-office and at-home whitening are safe when used according to the instructions.  One of the reasons teeth whitening is safe is that both the results and the side effects are temporary.  Patients who experience white spots or splotchiness to the teeth should stop whitening, and the changes will fade over time.  Sensitivity caused by whitening will subside once you stop whitening.

Teeth whitening does not weaken enamel or make it more susceptible to cavities.

Can I Whiten My Sensitive Teeth?

Yes.

Sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening, and for people with teeth already sensitivity, it can be very uncomfortable.  This is why having a dentist’s supervision is so important.  They can intervene and treat your sensitivity in conjunction with the whitening process, keeping you as comfortable as possible.

Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?

Yes.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening strips do contain the appropriate ingredients to actually whiten the teeth.  If you can get them to stay in place (they tend to slip and slide around), you can achieve a few shades of whitening.

Do Whitening Toothpastes Work?

Kind of.

Whitening toothpastes don’t actually change the underlying color of your teeth the way professional teeth whitening does.  However, its abrasive quality does polish away surface stains from things like coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco.  By removing external stains, whitening toothpastes do brighten and improve your smile.

How Can I Keep My Teeth White?

There are a few ways to maintain a beautiful white smile.  One is to prevent staining by avoiding dark foods and beverages.  The other is to perform maintenance whitening treatments whenever you notice the brightness fading.  Another great way to maintain a bright, white smile is to use a whitening toothpaste with an electric toothbrush.  This keeps surface stains from accumulating over time.

What Kind of Teeth Whitening is the Best?

In our professional opinion, BOOST in-office teeth whitening is the best choice for someone who needs white teeth on short notice.  If you have a little more time and want more control over your whitening results, at-home teeth whitening with Opalescence PF whitening gel is the best choice.  With professional teeth whitening (as opposed to over-the-counter options), you can get the most noticeable results in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of tooth sensitivity.