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How Professional Teeth Whitening Works

How Professional Teeth Whitening Works

Naturally pearly whites are nearly impossible to achieve (and maintain), especially if you enjoy wine, coffee, or soda. Even tomato sauce can contribute to staining your teeth, which is why whitening products are in such high demand. We all want picture-perfect teeth, but OTC solutions might not provide the results you’re hoping for. 

From her office in Washington, DC, Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton provides at-home teeth whitening kits and professional, in-office whitening using the Phillips Zoom!® system.

The whitening process

Generally, the whitening process uses a peroxide-based bleach to whiten your enamel. Heat and/or light is sometimes used to boost the effects. However, the method used can greatly impact your results. When it comes to teeth whitening, you have three options: 

Over-the-counter products 

These include the things that you can buy at the store, including gel pens, toothpastes, and mouthwashes. They often contain weaker bleaching agents to make them safe for frequent use, even on a daily basis. However, this can also affect their efficacy, making the improvements less noticeable. 

While these products can be great for maintaining your results after professional whitening, they often fall short in noticeably brightening your teeth. 

Take-home trays 

You can sometimes find whitening trays online, but these come in limited sizes and use different solutions than what you’d get from an actual dentist. Dr. Culotta-Norton takes an imprint of your teeth to create custom-fitted trays, which can be taken and worn at home. 

These fit snugly over your teeth, preventing the whitening solution from leaking or irritating your gums. You can wear them overnight, brightening your smile over the course of a few weeks. 

In-office bleaching 

If you want to truly transform your smile, having your teeth bleached at the dentist is your best bet. The Phillips Zoom! system can provide dazzling results in just under two hours, whitening your teeth up to 10 shades. 

During the treatment, a dental dam is used to protect your gums and mouth, and a strong bleaching agent is used on your teeth. An intense light helps speed up the process and lift deep stains. 

What to expect

Regardless of how you choose to whiten your teeth, you might experience tender gums and sensitive teeth. These are normal side effects, and should diminish over time. 

If your teeth are persistently sensitive after whitening, try switching to a sensitive toothpaste and avoid overly hot/cold food for a little while. Brush gently after whitening, and do not use abrasive toothpastes or other whitening products right after a professional treatment. 

Whether you’re looking for fast results or just want to gently brighten your smile, you can learn more by scheduling a consultation. To get in touch, call 202-833-1111 to make an appointment, or visit the contact page for more information. 

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