Friday, November 2, 2007

Teeth Whitening

(I seem to have fallen off of the blogging wagon this past week. Here is my column from today's Saipan Tribune. Thanks to Bev for sharing this information with me while I was at the SDA clinic last week.)

How’d you like to have a nice white smile? I was getting some complex dental work done recently and one of the dental hygienists, who’s a friend of mine, stopped by to chat. She mentioned to me that their clinic was offering teeth whitening. I’d never heard of it. I asked her to tell me more about it.

As it turns out, there are products available through your dentist’s office that can significantly whiten teeth and brighten a smile. Whitening procedures work best on teeth that are yellow. If the teeth have a brown discoloration, the whitening works moderately well. Teeth that are blue-grey tend not to be affected significantly by whitening procedures.

The option that is most widely available (and that is available here on Saipan) is the home whitening kit. The kit consists of a whitening gel and a custom-made set of mouth-guards (or “trays”) to fit over your teeth. You place the gel in the mouth-guards and place them in your mouth for several hours a day. Over the course of one to two weeks, you can see significant results. The gel can make the teeth temporarily sensitive, so some people place the gel for two or four hours a day, whereas other people wear the mouth-guards while sleeping at night.

In order to get ready, you need to go to the dentist to have an impression taken of your teeth, so the mouth-guards can be prepared for your teeth. It usually takes a few days to make them, at which time you can pick up the kit and start whitening.

One of the dentists that I was seeing mentioned to me that he had recently had the whitening procedure, and by golly, his teeth were pearly white.

You don’t have to whiten all your teeth (and certainly not the backs of your teeth), but only those teeth that are a visible part of your smile. If you have any artificial teeth – crowns, bridges, etc. – keep in mind that these teeth will not be whitened. If you wish, after the whitening procedure, you may have the artificial teeth re-done to match the color your new white teeth.

Discoloration of teeth takes place over years, so after a whitening procedure, you can expect that your smile will remain white for years to come.

The cost surprised me, because I expected it to be at least $500. All the dental clinics in Saipan offer the home whitening kits, and the prices range from $200-$395. Currently, there are two clinics that are offering whitening for $150. That’s a pretty good deal for a bright new smile. If you’re considering whitening your teeth, now would be a good time. Your dentist can let you know what kind of results to expect with your smile.


Bev said...

you're going to have a sparkling white smile in no time! I can't wait to see the before and after pics=) Good to see you doc!

Bev said...

you're going to have a sparkling white smile in no time! I can't wait to see the before and after pics=) Good to see you doc!

Ken & Crystal said...

Yes, bleaching is great! You'll love it. I love when my patients bleach their teeth. It makes such a bright difference.