Cosmetic Dentistry
Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth.  There is a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically that requires you to place the whitening gel at home over multiple weeks.  There is also an in-office tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically that requires you to be in the dental chair for approximately an hour to an hour and a half.   Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc.  Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.

Tooth whitening is not permanent.  A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.  Whether you choose to do the at home treatment of in office treatment you will be given bleaching trays to allow you to do touch-ups later.

Reasons for tooth whitening:

  • Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
  • Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
  • Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
  • Yellow, brown stained teeth.

What does tooth whitening involve?

 

At home whitening:  The at home tooth whitening usually requires two visits.  At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.

At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary.  The trays are worn with special whitening gel for 2-5 hours or overnight for several weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening.  It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.

You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.

In office whitening:  The in office tooth whitening requires one appointment.  At this appointment before pictures will be taken of your starting tooth shade.  Your teeth will be isolated and your lips and gums will be protected so that the bleaching gel can be placed on the teeth.  A blue light will then be directed towards the teeth for an hour.  You will be given plastic bleaching trays to take home and a lower percentage of bleaching gel to use every day or night for 10 treaments.  After pictures will be taken to record the number of shades the teeth have changed.

It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.

You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.



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