Professional Teeth Whitening in San Luis Obispo, CA

Achieve a Brighter Smile With Professional Teeth Whitening

Staining or discoloration of the teeth can make it difficult to be confident in your smile. Thankfully, the safe and effective professional teeth whitening services provided at our San Luis Obispo dental practice can give you the whiter smile you’ve been dreaming of!

Led by Dr. Carrie Ramirez, our dental team offers three professional teeth and tooth whitening treatment options to safely and effectively brighten your smile. Learn more about why you should opt for professional teeth whitening treatments by dialing (805) 549-8483.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Over the years, it can become more difficult to keep your teeth white. Various everyday factors can make both extrinsic and intrinsic stains more common. Extrinsic stains lie on the surface of your enamel, while intrinsic stains penetrate the enamel and lie beneath it. Common causes for both categories of staining include:

  • Age: As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth naturally thins, revealing the dentin underneath, which has a yellowish hue. This can make your teeth appear darker overall.
  • Genetics: Some people naturally have thicker or thinner enamel than others. Those with thinner enamel may be more prone to staining.
  • Certain Medications: Some medications, such as tetracycline and minocycline antibiotics, can stain teeth when taken during tooth development (in children under 8 years old) or during pregnancy. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can also cause staining in adults.
  • Dental Trauma: Dental trauma can damage blood vessels within the tooth, causing blood to seep into the dentin and stain it. The severity of discoloration depends on the injury’s force and can range from pink to dark brown. 
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, liver disease, and kidney disease, can affect tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to staining.
  • Excessive Fluoride Exposure: While essential for healthy teeth, consuming excessive fluoride, particularly during childhood when teeth are developing, can lead to fluorosis, which can cause white spots or streaks on teeth.
  • Drinking Habits: Aside from coffee, tea, and red wine, other beverages like dark sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks can also stain teeth due to their chromogenic pigments.
  • Certain Foods: Fruits and vegetables with strong pigments, such as berries, cherries, beets, and pomegranates, can temporarily stain teeth. However, these stains usually fade with proper brushing and flossing.

The best way to resolve problems with both kinds of stains is with professional teeth whitening services from your local cosmetic dentist. 

What Are Professional Teeth Whitening Services?

Professional teeth whitening services are procedures performed by a cosmetic dentist or dental hygienist to lighten the natural color of your teeth. They typically use stronger bleaching agents and techniques than over-the-counter options and can achieve faster and more dramatic results.

There are two common types of professional teeth whitening services:

  • In-office whitening: This is a one-time procedure performed in the dentist’s office. The dentist will apply a concentrated whitening gel to your teeth, which may or may not involve light or chemical activation. In-office whitening can whiten your teeth by several shades in a single visit.
  • At-home whitening: At-home whitening involves using custom-made trays that fit over your teeth and are filled with a whitening gel. You will wear the trays for a certain amount of time each day, typically for a few weeks.

Professional Teeth Whitening Services Vs. Store Bought

Everyone wants a sparkling white smile, as proven by the rise in popularity of over-the-counter teeth whitening products. We understand that it’s tempting to reach for the most readily available and affordable option. However, patients should know that professional teeth whitening offers significant advantages over store-bought whitening kits, which makes professional whitening the safest and most effective option. 

Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening Services

  • More Effective: Professional whitening uses stronger bleaching agents and techniques than over-the-counter options, leading to faster and more dramatic results, often lightening teeth by several shades.
  • Safer and Controlled: Dr. Ramirez and the rest of our dental team have the experience and training to ensure the safe application of whitening agents, minimizing risks of damage to teeth or gums.
  • Customized Treatment: Your dentist can assess your individual needs, recommend the most suitable whitening method (in-office or at-home), and personalize the treatment plan for optimal results.
  • Faster Results: In-office whitening can achieve significant whitening in a single visit, while professional at-home options, though taking longer, still provide faster results compared to over-the-counter products.
  • Long-lasting Effects: Professional whitening treatments typically offer longer-lasting results than over-the-counter options, with proper maintenance.

Our Professional Teeth Whitening Services 

Venus White® Max In-Office Teeth Whitening:

  1. Consultation: Your dentist will discuss your goals, suitability for the treatment, and potential risks and side effects.
  2. Gum and Lip Protection: A variety of methods can be used, such as applying vitamin E oil, placing protective barriers, or using gauze to shield your gums and lips from the bleaching agent.
  3. Activation: The hydrogen peroxide solution will be activated using a syringe-to-syringe mixing system.
  4. Solution Application: The dentist will carefully apply the Venus White Max bleaching solution to your teeth using a precise syringe for even distribution.
  5. Multiple Applications: The solution will be suctioned off and reapplied up to three times throughout the session to enhance whitening effectiveness.
  6. Monitoring and Comfort: Throughout the treatment, the dentist will monitor your comfort and ensure the process is progressing smoothly.
  7. Rinse and Clean: After the final application, your mouth will be thoroughly rinsed to remove any remaining bleaching agent.
  8. Results Assessment: You’ll be able to see a noticeable difference in your teeth’s shade immediately.

Opalescence™ Take-Home Whitening

  1. Impressions: Your dentist will take detailed impressions of your upper and lower teeth to create custom-fitted whitening trays.
  2. Tray Fabrication: Based on the impressions, personalized trays are created in the dental office to perfectly match the contours of your teeth. This ensures comfortable wear and optimal contact with the whitening gel, minimizing the risk of gum irritation.
  3. Oral Hygiene: Before each whitening session, brush and floss your teeth thoroughly to remove any debris and maximize the effectiveness of the gel.
  4. Gel Application: Apply a thin, continuous line of the prescribed Opalescence whitening gel to the inner surface of the custom trays, typically not exceeding one-third of the syringe content.
  5. Tray Insertion: Gently insert the labeled tray (upper or lower) onto your teeth, ensuring proper alignment and secure fit.
  6. Wear Time: Depending on the prescribed gel strength and desired whitening level, wear times can vary from 15 minutes to overnight. Your dentist will provide specific instructions based on your individual needs.
  7. Tray Removal and Cleaning: After the designated wear time, remove the trays and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove any residual gel.
  8. Brushing and Flossing: Brush and floss your teeth as usual to maintain good oral hygiene.
  9. Gradual Whitening: With consistent use as prescribed, you’ll progressively experience whiter teeth over time.

Opalescence™ Go At-Home Whitening

  1. Oral Hygiene: Similar to the take-home option, brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before using the Opalescence Go trays.
  2. Tray Selection and Application: Identify the pre-filled trays labeled “U” for upper teeth and “L” for lower teeth. Gently insert the corresponding tray onto your teeth, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit.
  3. Activation and Wear: Bite firmly on the tray and suck gently for two seconds to create a secure seal. Remove the colored outer tray, leaving the whitening tray in place for the prescribed wear time.
  4. Tray Removal and Cleaning: After the designated wear time, remove the whitening trays and dispose of them as instructed. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove any residual gel.

Maintaining Your Bright Smile

Achieving a whiter smile through professional whitening is an investment, and proper care is essential to prolong the results and minimize staining. Here’s a detailed list of practices to help you maintain your bright smile after your whitening treatment:

  • Limit Stain-Causing Foods and Drinks: Reduce or avoid consuming beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, dark sodas, and fruit juices, as well as pigmented foods like berries, beets, and soy sauce.
  • Use a Straw: When consuming staining beverages, utilize a straw to minimize contact with your teeth.
  • Rinse Immediately: After consuming staining substances, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove lingering residue.
  • Brush Twice Daily: Brush your teeth thoroughly for at least two minutes, twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss Daily: Flossing once a day helps remove plaque and debris between teeth, preventing staining in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Consider Whitening Toothpaste: Consult your San Luis Obispo dentist about using a whitening toothpaste specifically formulated to maintain results and remove surface stains.
  • Professional Cleaning: Visit your San Luis Obispo dentist for regular professional cleanings & exams, typically every six months, to remove accumulated plaque and tartar that can contribute to staining.
  • Touch-up Treatments: Discuss the possibility of touch-up whitening treatments with your dentist to maintain desired whiteness between professional cleanings.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking and tobacco use stain teeth significantly. Quitting smoking is crucial for maintaining a white smile and overall oral health.
  • Limit Acidic Foods: Acidic foods can erode tooth enamel, making them more susceptible to staining. Consume them in moderation and rinse your mouth afterward.
  • Avoid Over-the-Counter Whiteners: Avoid over-the-counter whitening kits, as some may be abrasive or contain harsh chemicals that can damage your teeth or gums.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Will my teeth be sensitive after treatment?
How do I handle teeth sensitivity post-whitening treatment?
Should I start a whitening treatment without telling my dentist?
Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?
Will my teeth be sensitive after treatment?

Teeth whitening opens the pores of the teeth, exposing the dentin layer where living tissue is found, to bleaching agents. This means that some sensitivity after a teeth whitening treatment is normal. Sensitivity tends to fade on its own after a few days. 

The chances of sensitivity, damaged enamel, and irritation are reduced when the teeth whitening process is performed by an experienced professional. If you experience sensitivity after teeth whitening treatment that lasts more than a few days, contact your dentist for further assistance.

How do I handle teeth sensitivity post-whitening treatment?

In order to manage post-whitening sensitivity, the following steps are recommended:

  • Avoid hot and cold foods for at least three days after whitening
  • Take an analgesic
  • Coat your teeth with vitamin E oil
  • Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth
  • Use tooth mousse
Should I start a whitening treatment without telling my dentist?

Most dentists highly suggest scheduling a consultation before starting any dental treatment, or cosmetic dental services including teeth whitening. Failure to do so increases your chances of post-whitening sensitivity, damaging your teeth, and irritating your gums. Consulting with your dentist ensures that any attempts at whitening.

Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?

While teeth whitening typically falls under cosmetic procedures and isn’t covered by dental insurance, there are rare exceptions if discoloration stems from a medical issue. Call your insurance provider beforehand to learn which costs they can or can’t cover. Also, consider discussing in-office financing options with your dentist.

Safe & Effective Teeth Whitening Is Professional Teeth Whitening! 

Store-bought teeth whitening kits can’t offer the safe, effective, and long-lasting benefits of professional whitening treatments. If you want a whiter smile the right way, schedule a consultation for teeth whitening by calling our San Luis Obispo office at (805) 549-8483 or filling out and submitting our online contact form

We also proudly serve patients in Santa Margarita, Arroyo Grande, and Pismo Beach, CA. Dr. Ramirez and our team will help you choose the teeth whitening method that works best for your budget and schedule while delivering stunning results you’ll be eager to show off!

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