Whitening is a bleaching process that lightens the enamel and dentin that make up the outer covering of the tooth. Teeth can become discolored for many reasons, including:
- drinking coffee & tea, berries, soy sauce
- traumatic injury
- aging: over time teeth actually become more absorbent and vulnerable to staining
- taking tetracycline, antibiotics or excessive fluoride during the time that teeth are forming at a young age
An impression of your teeth is taken in the office to create a customized tray you can wear for tooth whitening. When your trays are ready, we will instruct you on the process of applying the special bleaching material to the trays. The trays should be worn for 30 – 60 minutes up to twice a day. The most dramatic results will appear after one to two weeks of daily treatments. After this time, you can use them occasionally to maintain brightness.
Single Tooth Internal Whitening
Teeth that have internal staining, due to discoloration from developmental conditions, trauma or have been devitalized by root canal treatment, may not be affected by the typical whitening process. Internal tooth whitening, where the doctor places a cotton pellet containing bleaching agent inside the crown of the tooth, may be an option for you.
Is tooth whitening safe?
Yes. Research and clinical studies have shown that whitening teeth under a dentist’s supervision is safe. It is one of the safest cosmetic dental procedures that we perform.
How long does tooth whitening last?
If patients follow a regimen of brushing and flossing twice daily, and an occasional home touch-up of whitening with an at-home whitening gel, teeth will always be lighter than they were before the procedure.
What is the difference between over the counter whitening and tray whitening?
Over the counter applications take weeks or months to lighten the teeth just a few shades. Dentists are authorized to prescribe a higher concentration of bleaching agent, and so the teeth become whiter much more quickly.
Are there any side effects to tooth whitening?
Patients may experience increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold. Usually this is completely reversible after discontinuing the bleaching process for several days. White spots on the surface of the teeth are also a potential side effect of whitening, but this is very rare.