Over-the-counter Teeth Whitening vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

These days, it seems like you can’t watch an hour of television without encountering at least one commercial for a teeth whitening product. While many of these over-the-counter products are harmless, and some actually produce beneficial effects, none can match the safety and efficacy of professional in-office and at-home teeth whitening systems offered by skilled dentists. At worst, some of these store-bought products can actually cause permanent damage to your teeth if used improperly.

At University Dental Arts in Denver, professional teeth whitening allows our patients to whiten their teeth by multiple shades in just about an hour. They emerge from treatment with radiant, healthy-looking smiles free from discoloration caused by stains, age, and daily wear and tear. The entire process is supervised by our trained dental professionals to ensure the absolute safety of our patients at all times.

When it comes to whitening your teeth, don’t believe the hype you see on those television ads, especially the ones that claim to offer the same level of whitening that “your dentist” can provide. At University Dental Arts, your dentist – Dr. David Redford – and his skilled team offer a level of care and attention to detail that cannot be matched by a product in a box, no matter how slickly it is marketed.

Why OTC Teeth Whitening Can Be Risky

Even the safest OTC teeth whitening systems depend on consumers to follow instructions to the letter for them to be safe. Unfortunately, some people with good intentions end up damaging their teeth – sometimes aesthetically, sometimes in such a way that expensive restorative dental work becomes necessary.

In the latter case, this is usually because of enamel erosion. Enamel erosion often occurs due to accidental misuse or intentional overuse of an OTC whitening product. Despite warnings, some people believe that if they use more than the recommended amount of a whitening product, they will achieve whiter teeth faster. Instead, they erode the protective enamel of their teeth, ironically allowing the greyish underlying layer of dentin to show through.

Even when used according to instructions, the best OTC teeth whitening systems are limited in their bleaching and stain-removing power for the sake of consumer safety. Therefore, they will never be able to whiten teeth as effectively as their professional counterparts.

The Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening

Under the supervision of trained and experienced dentists, professional teeth whitening systems produce optimal results with minimal risks and side effects. At University Dental Arts, we carefully screen patients to ensure that they are good candidates for teeth whitening, precluding those who are prone to tooth sensitivity from undergoing the procedure. Again, this meticulous screening process is something that OTC whitening systems do not afford.

Likewise, our professionals take exceptional care to safeguard the gums from exposure to the hydrogen-peroxide-based whitening gel, ensuring that no harm comes to the delicate periodontal tissues. People who “do it themselves” with OTC systems do not have the advantage of such professional care.

Learn More about the Advantages of Professional Teeth Whitening

To learn more about the advantages of professional teeth whitening, please contact University Dental Arts today.

Teeth Whitening Risks Can Be Avoided with a Little Care

Teeth whitening options are on every corner and everyone wants a sparkling Hollywood smile. But not everyone is swayed immediately. Some pause, thinking: I wonder what could go wrong?

For most people, teeth whitening is a popular and safe option for dramatically improving their appearance. But everyone still needs to be aware of what to do before and after the procedure.

Dentist David Redford in Denver understands concerns about teeth whitening risks. Though teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments, there are side effects that need to be managed. Dr. Redford customizes his whitening treatments to individual needs and sensitivities to ensure the whitest smile with the fewest complications.

Whitening Side Effects

The two most common side effects, both usually temporary, are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

  • Tooth Sensitivity. The whitening agent can cause a temporary sensitivity in your teeth, usually in response to hot and cold foods. This usually disappears in 24 hours. If your teeth are particularly sensitive, Dr. Redford can modify the treatment to meet your needs.
  • Gum Irritation. If the whitening agent touches the gums, it can cause irritation, including white spots. The discomfort depends on how long the peroxide sits on the gums, but typically the irritation is gone in 24 hours. Your dentist will take extra steps during in-office treatment to prevent this. If you choose at-home treatment, custom trays for bleaching will be created from a mold of your own teeth, reducing the risk of gum irritation.

There are other, less common, side effects from teeth whitening:

  • Uneven Whiteness. The whitening method can affect results.For example, generic whitening trays sold in over-the-counter kits don’t fit teeth precisely, making contact between teeth and the whitening gel uneven. When that happens, the whitening can also turn out uneven.
  • Over-whitening. Teeth whitening has its limits. Some people get addicted to the bling and undergo treatment too often. Instead of getting whiter, their teeth turn translucent or grey. In addition, teeth may become brittle or the tooth enamel could be permanently destroyed.

Whitening Isn’t for Everyone

Though teeth whitening is safe for most people when directions are followed, it’s not for everyone.

  • Pregnant or Nursing. No studies prove teeth whitening is dangerous for pregnant women, but it is better to be cautious. Whitening is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Peroxide Allergies. If you are allergic to peroxide, the whitening agent, you should not whiten your teeth.
  • Gum Disease, Exposed Roots, Worn Enamel. If you suffer from these conditions, your teeth could become more sensitive after whitening. Consult your dentist before proceeding.
  • Cavities, Cracks, Loose Dental Work. Any crevice where whitening agent can seep into the interior of a tooth needs to be repaired to prevent damage to the tooth’s root, perhaps leading to root canal treatment.
  • Restorations. The color of crowns, veneers, and other restorations is unaffected by tooth whitening. If your restorations match your teeth now, they won’t after you whiten your teeth.
  • Deep Stains. Whitening will remove many stains, but not all of them. Your dentist can advise you of the types of stains that respond the best.

 Learn More

If you would like to know if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening, please call our offices.

Types of Tooth Discoloration

Everybody wants a white, radiant smile. However, certain lifestyle habits or genetic factors may be preventing you from achieving the tooth shade you desire. Fortunately, tooth discoloration is entirely treatable in most instances. A qualified dentist can suggest various teeth whitening options that are suitable for you. It is important to understand what causes tooth discoloration as well, to avoid developing discolored teeth all together.

What Causes Teeth to Discolor?

Tooth discoloration can be separated into two distinct categories: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic discoloration occurs when stains are located on the surface of the teeth and is a direct result of the following lifestyle habits and stain-causing substances:

  • The nicotine contained in tobacco products like cigarettes causes teeth to turn yellow.
  • Consuming fruits like blueberries, blackberries, and cherries, which contain highly pigmented molecules that stick to the surface of the teeth, causes stains.
  • Beverages like tea, coffee, and wine can also stain teeth. Soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks, which are all high in acid and cause tooth erosion, also contribute to tooth discoloration.
  • Having poor oral hygiene such as not regularly flossing, brushing, and scheduling frequent dentist visits also leads to stained teeth, since unattended plaque and tartar buildup to leads to yellow teeth.

Intrinsic discoloration appears as deep stains embedded inside the tooth and occurs as a result of the following factors:

  • Some illnesses such as infections or high fever, especially at young age when teeth are still developing, cause discolored teeth.
  • Certain medications and treatments such as tetracycline or high blood pressure pills can discolor tooth enamel and the layer underneath, causing stains.
  • A trauma or injury to the mouth or teeth can cause teeth to yellow.
  • Certain dental materials used in restorative dentistry like the sulfide contained in amalgam fillings, can cause teeth to turn gray.
  • Genetics and aging may also contribute to yellowing teeth. Some people are simply born with thicker enamel. However, enamel tends to thin as we age, exposing the naturally yellow dentin layer underneath.

How to Prevent and Treat Tooth Discoloration

Fortunately, tooth discoloration can be both prevented and treated. Quitting smoking, cutting back on stain-causing foods, drinking tooth-discoloring beverages with a straw, and improving your dental hygiene will all help your teeth remain white.

If your teeth have become discolored, and you would like to restore them to their original shade, a range of cosmetic procedures are readily available as well. Teeth whitening is the most sought after option for treating tooth discoloration. Whether you opt for in-office, in-home, or over-the-counter whitening treatments, a solution exists to meet your specific needs.

Learn More about the Types of Tooth Discoloration

Your teeth may become discolored due to a variety of reasons. Fortunately, your smile can be restored to a beautiful white shade through teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, or dental bonding. To discover the underlying cause behind your discoloration and to explore your options to obtain a dazzling smile, schedule an appointment at University Dental Arts today.

How to Care for Your Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a wonderful way to create a beautiful, flawless smile. Though porcelain veneers are extremely durable, you will need to take care of them to make them last as long as possible. Denver cosmetic dentist David Redford offers these tips for the aftercare of your porcelain veneers.

Caring for Your Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers will not last a lifetime and, for most people, may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years. You can help increase the lifespan of your porcelain veneers through proper care and maintenance. Practicing the following tips will greatly help in keeping your porcelain veneers looking and functioning their best.

  • Practice proper oral hygiene: Practicing good oral hygiene is most important to prolonging the life of your porcelain veneers and maintaining the overall health of your mouth. Porcelain veneers will not decay but veneers leave areas of the tooth exposed; these areas of exposed tooth are still susceptible to decay. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is key to increasing the lifespan of your veneers.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste: Abrasive toothpastes and hard bristled toothbrushes can damage the polish on your veneers. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste without harsh abrasives.
  • Avoid gum disease: Gum disease results in gum inflammation and may even cause the gums to recede. Receding gums may expose the top edge of the veneer, marring the appearance of your smile. Gum disease is avoided by practicing proper oral hygiene and regularly seeing your dentist.
  • Do not skip your six-month check-up: Regular dental check-ups not only help keep your teeth and gums healthy, but also allow your dentist to assess your porcelain veneers and repair any issues that could damage them.

Avoid Developing Bad Habits

Properly caring for your porcelain veneers also includes avoiding bad habits that can be damaging to your veneers. Here are some things to avoid after getting porcelain veneers:

  • Do not chew on hard objects: Porcelain veneers are very durable, however, they are not as strong as your natural teeth. Avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, ice, and even your nails. Hard items can cause your veneers to chip.
  • Do not grind or clench your teeth: Teeth grinding and clenching should be stopped whether you have porcelain veneers or not. Teeth grinding wears down the teeth and will damage porcelain veneers. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist can fit you with a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep (when most teeth grinding and clenching occurs).
  • Avoid foods and drinks that may stain your teeth: Though porcelain veneers are rather stain resistant, the adhesive used to bond the veneers to the teeth is not resistant to staining. This may result in the edges of your veneers appearing yellowed or darkened. Try to avoid foods and drinks that may stain your teeth. When you do drink coffee or sodas, use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth.
  • Do not smoke: Smoking is another cause of discoloration along the edge of porcelain veneers. Besides the overall health benefits of quitting, smoking should be avoided to keep your veneers looking their best.

Schedule a Consultation

For our patients in Denver, teeth whitening is a great addition to porcelain veneer treatment for a complete smile makeover. Don’t wait any longer for a dazzling smile. Schedule a consultation today!

Aesthetic Flaws that can be Treated with Smile Makeovers

Smile makeovers are becoming more common than most people think. Advances in cosmetic dentistry have made is possible for dentists to create beautiful smiles that look completely natural. Denver cosmetic dentist David Redford uses high quality dental materials and effective techniques to treat tooth discoloration, misalignment issues, and missing teeth. Learn more about the treatments that can be performed to treat aesthetic problems.

Tooth Discoloration

While yellow and brown-toned stains that result from the use of tobacco products and dark-colored beverages such as soda, red wine, coffee, and tea are the most common, some patients have stains with a grayish hue and others have white splotches on the teeth. Gray stains are usually caused by medications such as tetracycline, and white stains may appear after wearing braces or due to excessive intake of fluoride as a child. The type of tooth stain that you have should be considered before a treatment plan is formulated. Yellow and brown stains respond best to tooth whitening; those with gray or white-toned stains may experience some improvement after teeth whitening treatment, but dental bonding or porcelain veneers generally offer better results in these cases.

Misaligned Teeth

Teeth that are misaligned as a result of overcrowding or spaces between the teeth can result in cosmetic concerns and oral health problems for patients. There are several treatment options that can properly align the teeth and bite; the ideal treatment will depend on the severity of the patient’s orthodontic issues. For gaps and mild crookedness, dental bonding or porcelain veneers are excellent options. For patients with moderate overcrowding, Invisalign® or traditional metal braces may be the best option. Patients with more serious alignment issues will probably require metal braces to pull the teeth into their optimal position.

Worn, Chipped, or Misshapen Teeth

The shape of the teeth has a real impact on the appearance of the smile. Patients that have naturally misshapen teeth, teeth that are different sizes, and asymmetry issues can benefit from the placement of porcelain veneers or dental bonding material to improve proportion. Similarly, for patients with teeth that have become chipped or worn over time, these treatments can be used to replace the lost tooth material and produce a more beautiful smile.

Missing Teeth

Patients that are missing teeth should seek treatment for the condition immediately to avoid the cosmetic and health problems that are common in patients who are missing teeth. The missing teeth should be replaced with a dental bridge attached to adjacent crowns, or crowns, bridges, or dentures that are secured to dental implants. It is important that patients replace their missing teeth before the underlying gum tissue and bone begins to degenerate, and the surrounding teeth drift out of position. Delaying care often results in further oral health problems that extend treatment time and increases dental costs.

For our patients in Denver, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, Invisalign®, and dental implants can enhance the appearance of the smile. To find out of you are a good candidate for these smile makeover treatments, contact University Dental Arts today.

Popular Smile Makeover Treatments

Dental imperfections, such as crooked or discolored teeth, often cause our dental patients to feel insecure about the appearance of their smiles. Denver cosmetic dentist David Redford believes that no patient should ever have to feel insecure because of the appearance of his or her smile. Dr. Redford combines and customizes smile makeover treatments in such a way that each individual patient is able to discover the full potential of his or her smile. Through a smile makeover, you can have the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve.

What Is a Smile Makeover?

A smile makeover is a treatment plan consisting of one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures designed to enhance your smile. Patients undergoing smile makeovers may have only one or two teeth in need of treatment, while others require more comprehensive treatment. Smile makeovers are tailored to each individual patient, because no two people share the same goals or needs, and every smile is unique. Smile makeovers may be used to address a full range of dental issues including cracked or broken teeth, discolored teeth, gaps between teeth, uneven teeth, teeth damaged by decay, missing teeth, and crooked teeth.

Candidates for Smile Makeovers

Any dental patient who is unhappy with the appearance of his or her smile is most likely an ideal candidate for a smile makeover. Because of this, any patient who wishes to restore his or her smile to optimal beauty and health should consider a smile makeover. From minor discoloration to badly damaged teeth, we will customize a smile makeover to your unique dental needs.

Popular Smile Makeover Treatments

While your smile makeover plan will be created specifically for you, three of the most popular treatments that are commonly included in smile makeovers are teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and Invisalign®.

  • Teeth whitening: One of the most popular dental treatments available today is teeth whitening. Laser teeth whitening is one of the easiest and quickest ways to revitalize your smile. Teeth whitening can provide exquisite and long-lasting results. Drinking coffee, wine, and tea, as well as aging and wear of the teeth all cause discoloration and staining to occur in the teeth’s enamel and dentin. Through laser teeth whitening, your teeth can become six to ten shades whiter than they were before treatment.
  • Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are an ideal smile makeover treatment option for patients desiring to completely change their smiles while still achieving natural-looking results. Aesthetically pleasing and natural looking, porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made porcelain shells that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth to improve their appearance. They provide inconspicuous results while effectively improving the appearance of chipped teeth, misshapen teeth, crooked teeth, and discolored teeth. Veneers can also close gaps between the teeth.
  • Invisalign®: Another treatment option in your smile makeover is Invisalign®. For our dental patients in Denver, Invisalign® can effectively correct orthodontic issues while remaining completely inconspicuous. Invisalign® aligners are virtually undetectable when worn and can be removed for up to two hours a day.

Contact University Dental Arts

To find out more about the many smile makeover treatments we offer, or to schedule a personal consultation, please contact University Dental Arts. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.