Teeth 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.
Having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. Since teeth 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.
Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for teeth 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 teeth whitening involve?
You and the Dr. will discuss which system would be best for you. If you choose an "in-office whitening," you will be required to brush and floss before starting treatment. Options for most successful results are:
1) A take home system. You will schedule a 15 min. appointment where impressions (molds) are taken of your teeth to fabricate custom trays. Once they are finished you will come back to pick up your trays, whitening gel and written instructions.
2) In-office whitening by Opalescence, which is typically done in 1 hr.! You will need to schedule a 1 hr. appointment, which will include a cheek retractor being placed, a barrier gel will be applied to protect your gums, then the whitening gel is applied and will remain on your teeth for 20 min. at a time. 2 visits may be required to complete whitening treatment.
3) A take home system that has a higher % of Hydrogen Peroxide that can only be provided by your dentist. Since these systems come with trays, you will not require an appointment and the trays are not custom to your mouth.