Professional teeth whitening might not be for you - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Professional teeth whitening might not be for you

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Can't live without your morning cup of coffee – or, two or three? Well, along the way you've likely noticed that your smile isn't as bright as it used to be.

But, there is a quick fix. The FOX Medical Team's Beth Galvin took a closer look at professional teeth whitening and how to know if it's the right way to go.

The good news is that if you want a brighter smile, then you can get it in about an hour at your dentist's office. The bad news: it's probably going to cost you a few hundred dollars.

"I get people asking me all the time, do I think their teeth need to be whitened," Dr. Alex Rodriguez, of Inman Park Dentistry, said. "From my perspective, no. And if their teeth are healthy, that's good."

One patient was recently willing to pay about $350 for a one-time, bleaching treatment.

The doctor said, "The really strong stuff we do here in the office, it works. It works very well, but we have to take a lot of precautions to keep it off the gums. It can irritate the gums sometimes."

He says sensitivity is the number one complaint with teeth whitening.

Dr. Rodriguez said, "Some people notice it even with over-the-counter products. The faster you bleach, the more likely you are to notice it. Some people don't notice it at all."

If you have dental work – like crowns and fillings – then you may want to skip professional teeth whitening.

The doctor said, "I've tried to whiten in the past and what happens is they start looking dark.  And it's not because they're getting darker. It's just the teeth next to them are getting whiter.  So, crowns fillings, things like that, they're not going to change color when you do any whitening."

If you're not ready to invest in an instant treatment or you have sensitive teeth, then over-the-counter whitening products are pretty inexpensive. Many people swear by using whitening strips available for purchase at a local drug store or super market.

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