What is tooth whitening?
Whitening is a bleaching process that lightens discolorations of enamel and dentin. The system uses a mild solution retained in a custom-fitted tray that is worn over your teeth.
What causes tooth discoloration?
Tooth discoloration can have many causes. The most common include:
- Consumption of staining substances (coffee, tea, colas, tobacco)
- Trauma to the tooth
- Nerve degeneration
- Old fillings
- Consumption of tetracycline during tooth formation
Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
The vast majority of people will benefit from tooth whitening. However, there are some cases where the treatment may not be effective. Our dentists will determine viable candidates for the response to treatment. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient, depending on the structure of the teeth, the number of applications, and/or the duration of time that the system is used.
Is the process safe?
Yes! Reaserch and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth with Carbamide Peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums. The whitening process is one of the safest cosmetic dental procedures available today.
How does it work?
The whitening gel is placed in a thin bleaching tray that fits over your teeth. As the active ingredient in the gel is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin and bleaches the colored substances. The structure of the tooth is not changed; only the color is made lighter.
How long does it take?
Maximum results generally occur when the process is continued for 10-14 days.
How long do the results last?
The teeth will always be lighter than they once were. Some patients may need a tooth whitening "touch-up" for 1-2 days, once or twice a year. The same whitening trays can be used for the rest of your life, however new touch-up bleaching solution may need to be purchased on occasion. The cost of the touch-up fees in minimal and they often last a very long time. In order to maintain the whitest tooth shade possible, avoid substances like coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco.
How is whitening at a dentist's office different from the whitening products sold at drug stores?
Due to safety regulations by the ADA/FDA the whitening systems sold at drug stores have very small concentrations of the active whitening ingredients. So by using these products your teeth will not whiten to their maximum potential because you won't be getting the maximum concentration of the solution. Drug store whitening strips do not adapt perfectly to your teeth because they are not customized to fit your individual anatomy. This lack of accurate adaptation often leaves blotchy areas in the enamel (some which have whitened and others which have not). Due to the low concentration of the active whitening ingredient in drug store whitening systems patients find that the results do not last very long and the process has to be repeated very frequently. Since the drug store strips are not reusable patients often end up spending more money in their lifetime on over the counter products as compared to patients who have the one time trays made at their dentist's office. It is best to whiten your teeth under the supervision of a dental professional.