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Straight, white teeth are no longer just for celebrities. Advancements in cosmetic dentistry over the last several years have made teeth whitening safer and more affordable for almost anyone wanting a brighter smile. Why is having a white smile important?

According to a national survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to the opposite gender, and 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chances for career success.

There are several benefits that come along with teeth whitening. The most prevalent of course is a better looking smile. Professional teeth whitening removes persistent stains and brightens your smile, leaving you with more self-confidence and less embarrassment about your dingy smile. You will no longer feel the need to smile with a closed mouth or shield your teeth when laughing or talking. You can show your smile off with confidence and finally feel proud of the way you look.

Reasons for teeth whitening:

  • Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
  • Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
  • Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
  • Yellow, brown stained teeth.

Here at Mission Viejo Dental Group, patients can watch a movie or listen to music during the procedure. We also provide the patient with a complimentary take home touch up kit.  Schedule an appointment today for a white smile.

Can bleaching help?

The easiest stains to remove are also the most common. These are the result of external factors, such as drinking coffee or tea, and smoking. Also, teeth tend to get slightly yellower as we age because of changes that occur within the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) that can be seen through the translucent enamel layer. Bleaching is most effective and generally quite successful on these types of stains.

Other types of stains result primarily from internal factors, such as stains from tetracycline use or excessive fluoride during the formative years of tooth development. The gray and black discoloring that result from these factors are much harder to successfully bleach.

What does bleaching involve?

There are both in-office and at-home bleaching options available. Most bleaching products use the same bleaching agent, carbamide peroxide, though the concentrations will vary, depending on the process and product used.

In-office procedures use stronger bleaching agents and/or a light source to speed up the bleaching process. These methods produce the quickest results, but are also the most expensive bleaching options.

The at-home option generally takes several days to a couple of weeks to complete, allowing for a slower, more gradual shade change. For this method, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and fabricate a custom-made tray to hold the bleaching solution. You will receive instructions on the proper method for placing the solution in the tray and the length of time to wear it for each bleaching session. Usually, each session lasts just a couple of hours.

OTC Bleaching Products

What about over-the-counter bleaching products and whitening toothpastes?

While there are several over-the-counter (OTC) bleaching products that claim to bleach your teeth, it is best to complete the bleaching process under the guidance of a dentist. In some instances, bleaching would not be recommended, and your dentist is best able to advise you if your teeth and gums are healthy enough for bleaching to be safe and effective. Also, as cosmetic products, OTC bleaching agents are not regulated so do not undergo the same governmental oversight as medical devices or drugs do.

If you decide to use an OTC bleaching product, the ones offered by large, well-known oral product manufacturers have a good record of safety and efficacy, though they use lower peroxide concentrations and results will take longer than the products your dentist may offer.

For OTC bleaching systems that rely on a tray to hold the bleaching solution, often the tray is not custom-fit enough to hold the solution in place and prevent it from running out onto gums or from being swallowed.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes often resort to abrasives to keep teeth clean – and whiter. However, frequent use of high abrasives on tooth enamel usually results in excessive enamel wear and less shine and luster over time. If these products are used at all, they should be use with care.

If a whitening toothpaste does contain a peroxide ingredient for bleaching, the amount of time the toothpaste contacts the teeth is generally much too short to provide much bleaching effect. These products are probably most useful in maintaining a whiter color once it has been achieved through a more effective bleaching method.

Always consult your dentist before you use an over-the-counter oral care product to make sure it will be safe and effective for your specific situation.

Are there side effects?

Are there side effects to bleaching?

Mild tooth sensitivity is a somewhat common side-effect of bleaching. This can be reduced with the use of prescription strength fluoride gels, though not everyone needs this. For most people, the sensitivity usually lasts only a few days. Your dentist will advise you on the appropriate steps to take if your teeth become sensitive during the bleaching process.

Additionally, bleaching solution will irritate your gums, so be sure to wipe away any excess solution. Custom fit trays and avoiding overfilling the tray will help prevent excess solution runoff.

Bleaching is a very effective method of tooth whitening for many people. However, your teeth and gums must be healthy before bleaching. Consult with your dentist to discover the safest and most effective tooth whitening method for you!

What Our Customer Says

  • As always the staff and Dr. Yuen were amazing. The hygienist did a wonderful job and explained each step of the cleaning process and her concerns regarding the health of my teeth. Dr. Yuen was very attentive and took his time during the bonding process of my front teeth. I am very pleased with the results and look forward to seeing them for future procedures.
    — Joseph H.

  • I was very nervous about going to see the dentist, but Dr. Yu and his staff were so nice and professional. The minute I stepped into the office, the tranquil environment put my mind at ease. My teeth have never looked so beautiful, and I’m no longer self-conscious about my smile. In one short visit, my whole appearance has dramatically improved. I would highly recommend getting this procedure done with Dr. Yu and his staff Thank You for my smile!
    — Katie W.

  • Dr. Yuen and Staff are world class, in my opinion. They have always greeted me with warmth, interest and truly care about you. It has always been a pleasant experience to visit their office, whether to have a tooth pulled, or a super nice teeth cleaning session. I love how friendly and courteous they are, too. I would even recommend them to other dentists who is looking for honest, courteous and super efficient service and results. They are an exceptional family practice who make everyone feel right at home, even with the sound of a drill in the background.
    — Nicki L.

  • Today was my first trip to this dental office and this is my first ever review on Yelp. They are the best from top to bottom. I actually enjoyed my time there. Everyone from Dr. Yuen to the sweet elderly lady who collected my bill. Dr. Yuen was able to explain how my front teeth busted up my chin from a recent face plant I did. The secretary was very smart and there was no A.D.D. when listening to her. They all made me feel good, especially the dentists assistant. She is an Angel from Heaven, so much so that I had to hug her to say goodbye. I recommend them, so go there, relax and enjoy them.
    — Kevin M.