We offer tooth whitening in our Westwood dentist office because we know having a beautiful smile is a key component of living your best life. Bright, white teeth can boost your confidence, improve your mood, and may even increase your job performance. Whatever your reason for whitening your teeth, our friendly and helpful staff can answer any questions you might have, explain the multiple options available to you, and help you understand just how much teeth whitening might cost.

Below you’ll find a helpful FAQ we’ve created to answer some of those common questions and concerns. If you want to speak with us directly about teeth whitening in our Westwood office, call (310) 775-2265 to schedule a face-to-face consultation.

What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening before after

The tooth whitening products in our Westwood dentist office consist of a higher-strength peroxide solution than you would be able to obtain over-the-counter for at-home treatments. Typically, those commercially available teeth whitening solutions found in Westwood medicine cabinets and bathroom vanities only contain a 3% to 20% solution of either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. The tooth whitening solutions at Westwood Village Smiles range in strength from 15% to 43% peroxide.

Determining which concentration to use depends on a lot of different factors including:

  • The age/health of the patient
  • The degree to which the enamel must be whitened
  • The speed with which the process is to be undertaken

And while typically a faster treatment is desirable, sometimes a slower, more in-depth whitening process leads to better, longer-lasting results.

(As a general rule of thumb, the stronger a peroxide solution is, the less time it should remain on the teeth. Leaving a strong solution on for too long could result in damage to the tooth and increased sensitivity.)

Reasons to Whiten Your Teeth

If you’ve noticed tooth discoloration, the reason behind it might not be as simple as drinking too much coffee. Indeed, discoloration of your tooth’s enamel or the softer material underneath that protective outer layer comes from many different causes. The foods and drinks you consume do play a major role in the eventual (and inevitable) staining of your teeth, but so do:

  • Smoking (tar and nicotine both stain teeth intensely)
  • Age (enamel actually thins with age letting the more yellowish dentin underneath show through)
  • Physical damage (which may change the consistency of your tooth)
  • Medication (antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure meds have all been linked to tooth discoloration)
  • Excessive fluoride use during development (called Fluorosis)

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth Whitening

At a young age our teeth are healthy white. But overtime the enamel coating the tooth is so slowly worn down. Causing our teeth to become stained and yellow, which is why teeth whitening is become increasingly popular today. There are a few methods for whitening. They include at home and in office. With in office treatments, you will see faster results, receive the safest treatment for bleaching the teeth, and yield the whitest smile. So, don’t settle for teeth that have become stained from years of coffee drinking, tobacco use, or just aging. Ask your dentist about whitening options that may be right you.

That depends on which products you and your dental professional choose to use.

Tray-Based Whitening Gels

Similar to commercially available whitening treatments, your dentist may opt to use tray-based gels to whiten your smile. In such cases, you would typically be seen for two sessions—the first to measure for a customized dental tray, and the second to actually apply the gel. Depending on your individual needs, you may be “prescribed” up to 14 of these treatment trays to be used in the comfort of your own home.

(Keep in mind, professional grade whitening agents are often much more potent and more efficient than over-the-counter options.)

In-Office Application

Sometimes patients opt for in-house teeth whitening at our Westwood dental studio. These treatments typically involve:

  • A protective dam being “painted” on to protect sensitive gums
  • A bleaching agent being “painted” on to the teeth and left for approximately 15 to 30 minutes at a time
  • The agent being thoroughly washed off

This process may be repeated if needed to achieve optimal results.

Light-Enhanced Whitening Treatments

Some patients are good candidates for light-augmented teeth whitening. In these cases, a whitening agent is applied to the teeth then a bright white light is focused into the mouth. This targeted UV light actually assists and enhances the whitening process to produce results faster.

Having a light-enhanced whitening procedure performed in our Westwood studio will minimize the risk of side effects often experienced by patients who use in-home light therapy. These include:

  • Pain/discomfort in the gums
  • Increased sensitivity in the teeth
  • Redness or swelling of the mouth Does

Does Teeth Whitening Work Every Time?

Many patients undergoing teeth whitening at our Westwood dentist’s office experience excellent result within one or two office visits. However, there are certain situations in which teeth whitening procedures don’t work as well as individuals would have hoped. Indeed, peroxide-based bleaching agents don’t work well under certain circumstances.

For example:

  • Brown discoloration will not respond as well to the bleaching process.
  • Gray discoloration may signal a problem with the tooth beneath the enamel and bleaching may not work at all.
  • Tooth whitening will not work on artificial dental appliances like caps, veneers, crowns, and fillings.
  • Tooth whitening procedures cannot reverse age-related thinning of the enamel.

If you’re considering a tooth whitening procedure in Westwood, we urge you to speak with our helpful staff to discover what options are available to you and what the limitations of your personal treatment may be.

Is Tooth Whitening Safe?

Tooth whitening is generally regarded as safe. Some individuals report sensitivity after tooth whitening treatments. This occurs when the peroxide agent actually penetrates through the enamel and the dentin below and contacts the nerve(s) inside the tooth. This sensitivity is always temporary.

Keeping Teeth White After Whitening

Tooth whitening is not a permanent solution. While the results can be seen within hours (depending on which procedure you undergo) your teeth will immediately begin to collect stains again as you eat and drink.

In order to keep your newly whitened smile as bright as possible for as long as possible, here are a few aftercare tips:

  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks (like citrus juices)
  • Avoid tannin-rich consumables (like wine and tea)
  • Avoid sauces (like curry or tomato)
  • Limit your intake of darkly colored foods (like berries and coffee)

If you notice your teeth starting to darken again, an at-home touch up might just be the thing you need to stave off those stains. If the problem persists, another trip to our tooth whitening experts in Westwood will have you back to bright in no time.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

We offer a variety of teeth whitening options at Westwood Village Smiles in order to meet the individual needs and budget of almost any patient. Simple whitening options run between $300 and $500 while more intense therapies may cost up to $3,500.

(Those more expensive options are often home-applied tray-based whitening products that may require up to 14 applications.)

Typically these types of elective cosmetic therapies are not covered by dental insurance. However, Westwood Village Smiles offers multiple payment options (including Care Credit Financing) to help everyone get a bright white smile without “breaking the bank.”

Schedule a Tooth Whitening Consultation in Westwood Today

If you would like to learn more about the tooth whitening options available to you, we invite you to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our caring professionals today. You can learn what treatments are a good fit for you, how effective such treatments may be for your individual smile, and what the expected total cost should be.

If you have any questions or concerns, we can answer them in person to put your mind at ease.

Call (310) 254-9355 today or schedule a visit online.