Teeth Whitening For A Brighter You
Dr. Anthony Bielkie discusses teeth whitening options for you – Enjoy!
What are the different options available for teeth whitening?
Dr. Anthony Bielkie: We hear a lot all over the television and marketing and in the newspapers about tooth whitening. There are a lot of different ways that we can go about accomplishing that goal – from at-home tooth whitening procedures, in-office professional lightening where we do one hour in the office, other times people need something a little more expensive to whiten their teeth, for instance, porcelain crowns or porcelain laminates. In our office we also consider whitening teeth as considering a new partial or a new set of dentures where we can change the color of the teeth. Many times, having that beautiful smile is much easier and much less expensive than people may think.
How is professional teeth whitening better than teeth whitening kits you buy in the store?
Dr. Anthony Bielkie: That’s a great question. I guess being a dental professional, I have my biases – I think I need to say that right at the beginning. I think one of the things is 50% of the American population doesn’t seek regular dental care and because of that there could be a multitude of reasons why their teeth are discolored. Really a good thorough examination to make sure that the teeth are healthy. We’ve met people that have been trying over-the-counter tooth whitening procedures and really they needed a root canal. Or, they had tooth decay. In my opinion, it really is best to have it done by a professional that really knows what is happening then they can help you with that.
What can a patient expect when they come in for a teeth whitening procedure in your office?
Dr. Anthony Bielkie: Basically we’d start with a good thorough exam. Many times the patients that come and have a whitening are regular patients at the office and so we just talk about it at their cleaning appointment and we can go ahead and do the whitening the same day in many cases.
Other times, we’ll meet new patients that haven’t seen regular dental care and as we were speaking of before. We’d like to start with a thorough examination. That doesn’t mean anything big and fancy – it means we’ll look around and look for any tooth decay or any reasons why potentially whitening isn’t the exact best option for them. If they have old crowns, if they have some bonding, they need to know that if we whiten the teeth the bonding or the crowns are not going to change color. In some cases, people have used over-the-counter things and their teeth look like speckled corn. There’s a yellow one and white one and a yellow one. It’s really important for people to know upfront. Other people say, “You know what, I’ve always hated that yellow tooth anyway so let’s bleach them and let’s match the new color.” We want to know that from the beginning.
Does teeth whitening work for everyone over a certain age?
Dr. Anthony Bielkie: Absolutely. You can’t be too old to have your teeth whitened. There are some certain tetracycline stains, some of the grey-er stains that are less likely to get the result that you look for. We like to have realistic expectations. We generally bring a shade guide in, we show the patient where they are and where we think we can get them. We usually underestimate so we try to wow them with even whiter than we thought we could do.
Frequently, parents will bring their children in and want to know why their teeth are so yellow. One of the very common questions and this is really important for parents to understand is that the baby teeth are normally a little whiter than the permanent teeth that erupt. While they’re in the mixed dentition, while there’s some baby teeth and some permanent teeth, it frequently looks like the new teeth are more yellow. The first thing that everybody wants to do is whiten those teeth. What we don’t want to do is whiten the teeth and then we have to wait for the next tooth to come in and whiten the teeth again. We try to convince the kids to wait until all the permanent teeth are in and then we go ahead and whiten their teeth. That’s probably one of the biggest things.
Frequently what we do is the week after they get their braces off, if they did a great job brushing and keeping everything clean, as a reward we talk about whitening their teeth at the end of their treatment.
How long do teeth whitening treatments last before they need to be repeated?
Dr. Anthony Bielkie: Obviously that’s going to vary on patients and their habits. People that smoke, people that drink espresso, people that drink coffee are going to tend to have the stains re-occur. What we do in our office is we have a maintenance program. We generally do an in-office whitening and we whiten their teeth in an hour. Then, depending on their habits, the maintenance timeframe will vary. Perhaps every two or three months they’ll do a touch-up kit. When we do an in-office whitening, we include touch-up trays and then we have a little bit of solution that you’ll do that. Usually when you do the touch-up trays you’ll only do it for five minutes, once every couple of months. In essence, if you continue the maintenance phase, it should last indefinitely.
To learn more about Stoneridge Dental and teeth whitening visit www.stoneridgedental.com or call 586-739-6400 to schedule an appointment.