Over-the-Counter vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

The relatively low cost of teeth whitening combined with its track record of proven results makes it a popular choice. In 2018, over 40 million Americans whitened their teeth – either at home or professionally. But are all teeth whitening methods created equal? Let’s explore the facets of both so you can decide which method is right for you!

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

Strips: Because hydrogen-peroxide coated strips can be purchased for under $40, they are a popular go-to for people who are looking for whiter teeth. However, the strips do not provide excellent coverage for the crevices of teeth and the part of the teeth along the gum line and in between the teeth may be missed. Extreme tooth sensitivity is common and they only whiten teeth from two to four shades.

Toothpaste/Mouthwash/Gum: While these are certainly the most affordable option, they are best used in combination with other methods as they only whiten teeth by removing surface stains and typically the results aren’t very noticeable.

Professional Teeth Whitening
At Eggert Family dentistry, we offer KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching, Zoom Whitening, at-home trays with Opalescence bleach, and convenient Opalescence Go!.

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching: The most reliable and effective bleaching system on the market, KöR restores your teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen and can whiten teeth up to 16 shades! The oxygen from the whitening gel is absorbed deep into the tooth, dissolving stain molecules and changing how the tooth reflects light. Most people experience little or no sensitivity with this treatment.

Zoom Whitening: Zoom Whitening is performed in a single, two-hour appointment and lightens teeth anywhere from 4-10 shades! Professional whitening gel is applied to your teeth and activated by an LED light which helps the gel penetrate into the teeth. Follow-up includes sensitivity management with a special gel and at-home whitening trays.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we also offer our patients professional, at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options.

Opalescence Go! is similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options and comes with a convenient tray and strip application process, helping to better address the nooks and crannies.

Prior to all of our whitening treatments, we will assess the best bleaching system for you during an office visit with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff and a thorough professional cleaning with one of our hygienists.

If you’re interested in whitening your teeth and would help choosing the best route for you, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert would be more than happy to speak with you. They can be reached at 651.482.8412.

Tooth Discoloration: Causes and Prevention

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Tooth discoloration can be an embarrassing situation that often leaves people feeling self-conscious and trying to stifle their smiles. Discoloration can be categorized as extrinsic or affecting only the surface of the tooth, intrinsic or affecting the inside of the tooth or age-related – discoloration that occurs as enamel wears away over time. Tooth discoloration can appear yellow, brown, grey, white, black or purple, depending on the cause. Let’s take a look at some culprits of tooth discoloration, how to remedy it and how it can be prevented.

Causes of tooth discoloration

There are several causes of tooth discoloration. A few of them include:

Foods: Highly pigmented foods such as tomato-based sauces, chocolate, berries and beets can cause yellow or brown discoloration.

Beverages: Beverages that contain tannins, such as coffee, tea and red wine can cause a yellow, brown or purple tinge.

Tobacco products: Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can result in brown or dark yellow teeth.

Aging: Tooth enamel wears away over time, exposing the inner layer of the tooth (called dentin) and leaves behind a yellow appearance.

Antibiotics: Tetracycline stains the enamel of unerupted teeth, resulting in a banded grey or brown appearance.

Injury: Blood flow can be cut off to a tooth, causing it to turn grey.

Teeth whitening

There are a couple of options when it comes to teeth-whitening.

Over-the-counter whitening: Options include whitening strips and toothpaste/mouthwash. These whitening options are thought to be affordable, however, results are subtle as teeth only whiten an average of 2 shades. Over-the-counter whitening strips can also result in significant tooth sensitivity. These methods are best used in combination with another professional whitening method.

Professional whitening: At Eggert Family Dentistry, we offer four whitening optinos – KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching, Zoom Whitening, at-home trays with Opalescence bleach, and Opalescence Go!:

        • With the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching method, oxygen from the gel is absorbed into the tooth, produces little or no sensitivity and can whiten teeth up to 16 shades!
        • Zoom Whitening is performed in a single two-hour appointment and can lighten teeth anywhere from 4-10 shades. Follow-up care includes sensitivity management and whitening trays.
        • Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff Eggert also offer professional, at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options.
        • Opalescence Go! is similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options and comes with a convenient tray and strip application process, helping to better address the nooks and crannies.

Prevention

While not all teeth stains can be avoided, bruising and flossing after eating foods notorious for staining teeth can keep the pigment from attaching itself to the tooth. As a general rule, daily brushing, flossing and mouthwash help combat stains. Also, according to BMC Public Health, “Twenty-eight percent of smokers reported having moderate and severe levels of tooth discoloration compared to 15% in non-smokers.” Clearly, limiting or eliminating the use of tobacco products is another powerful step in warding off tooth discoloration.

Eggert Family Dentistry wants to help you keep your teeth pearly white! If you need to schedule a recare visit or would like to discuss teeth whitening options with us, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

I Want to Whiten My Teeth Professionally: What Are My Options?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Have you been longing for whiter, brighter teeth? Make 2020 the year you pursue your dream! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we offer four effective teeth whitening methods – the Philips Zoom Whitening System, the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System, at-home custom trays using Opalescence Bleach, and Opalescence Go!. Read on to learn more about each method and decide which method is right for you.

Philips Zoom Whitening System

This is one excellent teeth whitening option we present to our patients.

  • One of the easiest and most effective teeth whitening options
  • Lightens teeth from 4-10 shades
  • Performed in a single two-hour appointment
  • At-home maintenance includes whitening trays and sensitivity management
  • Results are fast and visible, typically same day!

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System

This is another effective teeth whitening option we offer.

  • Restores teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen
  • Can lighten up to 16 shades
  • Bleaching trays are created in the KöR lab from impressions of your teeth for a perfect fit
  • We apply conditioner to your teeth to prep them for home bleaching
  • We “set” your shade in our office once your desired shade is reached
  • You can expect little-to-no sensitivity
  • With custom maintenance, results are permanent

At-Home Professionally Made Custom Bleaching Trays Using Opalescence Bleach

This is an especially popular option.

  • Can lighten 2-8 shades
  • Bleaching trays are created in our office from impressions of your teeth for a great fit
  • Appointments are fast to obtain the trays and with bleaching at home, most people see results in as little as 2 weeks
  • The bleach used is carbamide peroxide, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options
  • Maintenance is easy with bleach refill kits that we keep in stock for your convenience

Opalescence Go!

Our most economical professional option.

  • Can lighten 2-4 shades
  • Similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options
  • Comes with a convenient tray and strip application process
  • Kit is available to “Go!” with no other pre-operative steps needed

If you’re looking for a teeth whitening solution that is more effective than whitening toothpaste and over-the-counter whitening strips, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff would love to talk with you. Give us a call at 651.482.8412!

The Impact of a Little Time Well Spent – Mary’s Story

How did this start?
Mary had been considering Invisalign for quite some time, and when she noticed her teeth beginning to crowd more, she decided to initiate treatment with Dr. Elizabeth. To begin, Mary came in for a records appointment with Dr. Elizabeth where she took impressions, photos, and x-rays of Mary’s teeth to send to Invisalign in preparation for her case. Using these records, Invisalign then created a 3D simulation of how Mary’s teeth could move with Invisalign treatment. Mary was happy with the results of the 3D simulation and decided to proceed with treatment. Dr. Elizabeth discussed with Mary that because the shape and size of her two upper front teeth didn’t match each other, it would be best to plan for veneers on these two teeth once her Invisalign treatment was complete.

What was involved?
Mary’s Invisalign treatment consisted of 22 total aligners that she wore for 1-2 weeks at a time. As part of Mary’s Invisalign treatment, Dr. Elizabeth slenderized some of Mary’s teeth to create more space for her teeth to better alleviate her crowding. Mary was diligent in wearing her aligners and was able to complete her treatment as anticipated. After completing her Invisalign treatment, Mary indicated she was interested in whiter teeth and asked about bleaching. Mary’s bleaching therefore needed to be done prior to the veneers on her upper front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth recommended the Zoom! Whitening in-office procedure to get Mary the whiter smile she wanted. After her two-hour session, Mary was happy to see that her teeth had lightened by four full shades!

With her teeth at her desired shade, Mary was ready for her final restorations. In preparation for the final restorations, Dr. Elizabeth made minor alterations to the biting surface of some of Mary’s teeth to remove interferences and perfect her bite. This process is called equilibration and helps to prevent Mary’s new smile from further wear. Once this was done, Dr. Elizabeth created a wax model of the veneers so Mary could make sure she was happy with their size and shape before having the final ones placed. With her approval, the final porcelain veneers were fabricated, then placed by Dr. Elizabeth.

What does Mary think of her results?

From the beginning, Mary was excited about her treatment and felt like she was well-prepared for it. She appreciated the opportunity she had to discuss her treatment plan with Dr. Elizabeth ahead of time so she knew what to expect as far as timing and the procedures themselves. Now that her treatment is complete, Mary says she feels more confident and relaxed about her smile. “I feel better about the future of my teeth. I know I have a better chance of keeping them longer.” When asked what she would say to someone considering similar treatment, Mary said “It’s worth it!” Mary was able to finish her treatment just in time for her son’s wedding. Congratulations Mary, what a beautiful result!

If you’ve been thinking about improving your smile, contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!