Most Americans feel insecure about their teeth – and of all the available cosmetic dental treatments, teeth whitening is usually the most desired.

It’s easy to appreciate why. White teeth are universally regarded as a sign of beauty and good health. They also suggest youth, as teeth typically only become discolored following years of exposure to coffee, tea, soda, wine and tobacco.

Although teeth whitening is not permanent, the treatment does markedly improve confidence during the months or years that its effect lasts. People who have their teeth whitened believe their professional, social and romantic lives will all improve because of it. Whether they are in fact correct or not is beside the point, as greater confidence is its own self-fulfilling prophecy!

There are natural ways to help keep your teeth whiter including regularly brushing and flossing, occasionally using a whitening toothpaste, avoiding drinks which stain enamel, eating foods which stimulate salivation, and quitting smoking.

But adopting all of these healthy lifestyle choices will not make your teeth as white as they could be. For true pearly whites which bedazzle everyone surrounding you every time you smile, you will likely need a teeth whitening treatment.


Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

You can go to the pharmacy right now and purchase one of several at-home teeth whitening products. These products do work, as they contain the same chemical a cosmetic dentist would use to whiten teeth (albeit in lower concentrations). They also come with certain caveats.

Strips are a popular option, although they typically only cover the front teeth which can give a complete smile an uneven appearance. Gels, which may be painted on or applied via mouth tray, contain a peroxide solution which may damage the teeth without appropriate application. Gels and other bleaching products which require trays for application may also fail to fit the teeth correctly. If this causes the whitening substance to spill out, then it may damage the sensitive gums.

If you elect to use an over-the-counter teeth whitening product, take care to select one made by a reputable manufacturer. A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom revealed that many products contain illegal and harmful concentrations of bleach. One of the products tested contained over 300 times the recommended amount of hydrogen peroxide. That could easily cause a chemical burn!


Professional Teeth Whitening Procedure

Whereas an over-the-counter teeth whitening product typically contains 7% peroxide, the whitening compounds used by dentists may be up to 45% peroxide. Their medical training enables a dentist to safely apply so acidic a compound to their patient’s teeth without threating permanent damage to the surrounding soft tissues.

Professional teeth whitening often takes about one hour, and may include laser treatment which accelerates the whitening process. The dentist may additionally provide their patient with custom molded trays and whitening chemicals so they may continue treating their teeth at home.


Composite Bonding

Also known as cosmetic bonding, composite bonding is a dental procedure in which a special, pliant resin is semi-permanently applied to the teeth. Composite bonding will not only make teeth appear slightly whiter. It will also improve the smile’s appearance by masking misaligned teeth, as well as closing single or multiple small gaps between teeth.

Cosmetic bonding may last between five to seven years with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. The procedure is entirely painless, requires only a single visit, and may be easily repaired during a single visit as well. Composite bonding is also inexpensive when compared to veneers, although it is not nearly as long-lasting.



Veneers are thin, naturally colored shells which are affixed to the front of the teeth to enhance their overall appearance. Whether they are made of porcelain or resin-based composite, a veneer creates the appearance of a perfect smile regardless of whether the patient’s natural teeth are chipped, cracked, yellowed or unevenly spaced.

A veneer is irreversible. The underling teeth must be drilled to ensure a perfect fit, and application of a veneer requires at least two visits to the dentist. When they are made of porcelain, veneers are typically fit to last for at least 15 years – after which a new veneer must be created and applied. Veneers are also significantly more expensive than composite bonding, but their ability to provide a “magazine cover” smile to anyone who would like one has made them extremely popular among people who desire a real and lasting boost in confidence!

Would you like to improve your self-esteem with the aid of a cosmetic dentist in St. Cloud, Minnesota? Then we welcome you to contact Centrasota Dental today to schedule a consultation! Dr. Congdon and his team are always available to help you feel more confident with your appearance – and start enjoying all the social benefits that come with a perfect smile!