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.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home teeth whitening system that will slightly but consistently 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 months, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for teeth whitening:
Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
Yellow, brown stained teeth from coffee, tea, smoking or highly pigmented foods (curry, cola, etc.).
What does teeth whitening involve?
In-office Whitening treatment:
On treatment day, a cleaning (prophylaxis) will be performed to rid the teeth of any debris and plaque. Then, special eyewear will be provided to protect the eyes from the halide light, and splashguards to protect the clothing from the bleaching agent.
Here is a brief overview of the Zoom!® procedure:
- Cheek retractors will be placed to expose the entire surface of the teeth.
- The gums will be covered to reduce sensitivity.
- Whitening gel is applied to the teeth.
- The halide light will then be applied to activate the gel.
- After 15 minutes, gel will be removed from the teeth and the mouth will be rinsed.
- More gel will be applied for another 15 minutes.
- Again, the gel will be removed and the mouth will be thoroughly cleansed.
- The final treatment of gel will be applied for 15 minutes.
- The gel will be removed for the final time.
Take home trays:
This type of teeth 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 solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of 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.
The same external factors that caused the discoloration in the first place can quickly work their way back onto the teeth. For this reason, the dentist recommends flossing once a day, thorough cleaning with anti-sensitivity toothpaste twice a day, and occasional re-treatment, if desired. These post-treatment measures will ensure that the smile stays at its whitest for a long time.
If you have questions about the teeth whitening, please ask us.