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Teeth Whitening and Bleaching


Teeth whitneing half smile at Oak Park DentalYour smile is one of the key components of your first impression. When your teeth are discolored, the quality of your smile is diminished. Others will take notice. Discolored teeth quickly lead to a loss of confidence. Suddenly, you are hiding your smile behind your hand, or are only giving tight-lipped grins. Both of these actions, while small, speak volumes to those around you. Teeth whitening procedures are becoming increasingly popular. At Oak Park Dental, we offer tooth whitening, helping your smile appear healthier, and allowing you to make a strong first impression.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Your teeth consist of two layers. The outer layer, the enamel, is pearly white, hard and heavily mineralized. The inner layer, the dentin, is more yellow in color. Over time, the enamel breaks down. Tiny fractures can form, which catch, and hold stains, pigments and other debris.

There are several different factors that can contribute to discoloration:
•  Dark colored foods and beverages, including such things as coffee, tea, red wine, tomato-based sauces, and curries. These foods and beverages are heavily pigmented, and the pigments stick quite easily to the enamel of your teeth.
•  Smoking, or the use of other tobacco products. Cigarettes contain numerous chemicals. Two of these chemicals are tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark in color. Nicotine, on the other hand, is clear, until it comes into contact with oxygen.
•  Certain medications, such as tetracycline and doxycycline.
•  Your age. As you get older, your enamel wears. Eventually, the yellow tint of your enamel begins to show through.

Is There a Difference Between Whitening and Bleaching?

There is a technical difference between the terms “whitening” and “bleaching.” Whitening is used to describe the process of restoring your teeth back to their natural color. This is accomplished by removing surface stains and debris from your teeth. On the other hand, bleaching refers to the process of whitening your teeth beyond their natural color. Bleaching products contain agents such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Despite the difference, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

At-Home Whitening Products

There are multiple different types of whitening products that you buy at your local pharmacy. However, these products—including strips, gels, and pens—are not customizable. Your teeth and your whitening needs are unique. Most products may not be able to help you achieve the results you are looking for. They also contain lower levels of bleaching agents, so it can take a while even to see minor changes.

Whitening toothpaste contains abrasives that scrub away surface stains and debris. Pens and gels may not be applied evenly, and results can be inconsistent.

In Office Whitening/Bleaching

At Oak Park Dental, we offer you professional whitening services. One of these services is a procedure known as chairside whitening, which is performed in our office. It takes only an hour of your time.

The procedure is completely painless and very easy. We start by using a device to keep your mouth open. We then move on to applying a protective gel on your gums, which keeps them safe from the bleaching agent. Finally, we apply the bleaching agent (which contains higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide than over the counter products) and direct a specialized light over them. The light activates the bleaching agents, causing them to release oxygen. When your procedure is done, your teeth will be noticeably several shades whiter.

Take Home Trays

The other professional whitening option is take home trays. This treatment option allows you to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home. We create molds of your mouth and provide you with the bleaching agent to take home. The trays designed to be worn for only a few hours a night for approximately one to two weeks. The results will usually start to show within a week.

How Whitening/Bleaching Works

Bleaching products contain one of two active ingredients—hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. When applied, the active ingredient releases oxygen molecules. These molecules then enter the tiny fractures in your teeth and break down stains and dark pigments on your teeth. The light, which is a high-intensity light, used for in-office (chairside) whitening, allows the active ingredients to work rapidly, which is why you see results immediately. On the other hand, the peroxides in the bleaching agents for take home trays work slower. As a result, it takes a little longer for you to see results, but the results you can achieve with these products are much greater than the results you might achieve with over the counter products.

How Long Does Whitening Last?

Whitening/bleaching is not designed to be a permanent solution to tooth discoloration. You have to take care of your teeth for the whitening to last. Properly cared for, whitening can last up to 2 years. Caring for your teeth after whitening involves:
•  Avoiding, or at least limiting, foods and beverages that cause staining.
•  Drinking dark beverages through a straw. Drinking through a straw allows the liquids to bypass your teeth.
•  Quitting smoking or the use of other tobacco products.
•  Brushing and flossing your teeth every day.

By following these steps, you can help to prolong the whiteness of your teeth, even beyond two years.

Benefits of Whitening/Bleaching

There are several benefits to whitening/bleaching your teeth:
•  You can achieve greater results in a shorter period.
•  It enhances your smile and your overall appearance.
•  It can make you appear younger.
•  You will get a boost of confidence, and smile at every opportunity.

Is Whitening/Bleaching Safe?

Whitening/bleaching is not only perfectly safe; it has been proven to be highly effective. The only thing you may experience with professional whitening products is some temporary tooth sensitivity. With chairside whitening, sensitivity can often be managed with a toothpaste designed for the issue. If you are using, take home trays, reducing the amount of time you wear the trays for can help. It is also recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid whitening procedures until they have either given birth or finished breastfeeding.

If discolored teeth have you hiding your smile, teeth whitening may be able to help. Contact Oak Park Dental today at (971) 600-0211 to learn more!
Serving Salem Keizer Community since 1987

We provide dental services for the entire family from children to older adults. Our entire team of caring Doctors, hygienists and support staff pride ourselves on a high level of patient care.

Using the latest in modern dental technology our services range from sealants to complex implant surgery. Our goal is a comfortable experience for our patients with beautiful results.


Smile more :-) Call today

(971) 600-0211


Located in the heart of the beautiful Willamette Valley.

Convenient hours
Monday–Friday 7am–5pm

3380 Astoria Way NE
Salem, OR 97305

(971) 600-0211

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