Tooth Whitening, or bleaching, is a safe and effective way to whiten your smile and remove unattractive discoloration. Tooth bleaching places whitening solution on the teeth to remove discoloration and stains.
Dr. Luther offers several methods to choose from at our Appleton dental office. Each differs in the strength of their whitening agents and in the time they take to remove discoloration. This can be achieved in several different ways:
- IN-OFFICE BLEACHING ALONE WITH BOOST – usually can be done in one appointment.
- TAKE HOME WHITENING TRAYS WITH OPALESCENCE
- A COMBINATION OF IN-OFFICE AND AT-HOME WHITENING THROUGH A TREATMENT CALLED “DEEP BLEACHING” by KoR—BEST OVERALL RESULT!!
- CREST WHITE STRIPS–Now available in Professional or Supreme strength. They’re 42% to up to 80% stronger than over the counter white strip products and can only be purchased at a dental office.
Is it safe? Any side effects?
Several studies during the past five years have proven whitening to be safe and effective. The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval to some teeth whitening products. Some patients may experience slight gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which will disappear when the treatment ends.
What are realistic expectations?
No one can really predict how much lighter your teeth will become. Every case is different. Typically, there is a two to five-shade improvement as seen on a dentist’s shade/color guide. However, with “Deep Bleaching,” results can be more dramatic, seeing changes up to an eight-shade improvement.
The success rate depends upon the type of stain involved and your compliance. Whitening can only provide a shift in color from gray to a lighter shade of gray, for example. Also, and very important, whitening does not bleach artificial restorations such as bonding, crowns, or porcelains. However, it can help restore the original color of the restoration when it was first applied.
Is whitening for you?
Generally, whitening is successful in at least 90% of patients – though it may not be an option for everyone. Consider tooth whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea, smoking, etc. Teeth darkened to the color of yellow, brown, or orange respond better to whitening. Other types of gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline are lightened, but results are not as dramatic.
Overall, however, and especially with the “Deep Bleaching,” we see excellent results, creating a “WOW!” factor. If you have very sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or teeth with worn enamel, we may discourage whitening.
How does it work?
There are three options available for whitening your teeth. One option is called “at-home whitening” and the other is an “in-office procedure.” The third option is a combination of both called “Deep Bleaching.”
For all three techniques (not including the preformed Crest Strips), impressions are taken of the teeth and custom trays are carefully fabricated to closely adapt to the teeth. A whitening gel is applied to the inside of the custom-fitted trays, which are generally worn for a certain time period, depending on the type of whitening you choose.
The active ingredient in most of the whitening agents is carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide; when water contacts this white crystal, the release of hydrogen peroxide lightens the teeth. Carbamide peroxide is dispensed in varying concentrations, ranging from 10%-35%. There are also hydrogen peroxide gels that are dispensed in the “Deep Bleaching” and in-office procedures.
How long does it take?
The at-home system could take as long as two weeks to fully bleach the teeth, or it could be as little as three days. The in-office system takes just over 90 minutes. “Deep Bleaching” involves a sequence starting with an in-office “conditioning” appointment, which takes about an hour.
The next step involves wearing custom trays at home and at night for the next 2 weeks. The final step involves a strong in-office treatment to deliver and finalize that “WOW!” factor, which takes about 90 minutes.
Which system is right for you is an individual decision. Some patients desire immediate results and do not want the inconvenience of trays and gels over a period of time. Whichever system you choose, the end result is the same: whiter teeth! (but to varying degrees).
How long does it last?
Lightness should last several years, depending on your personal habits such as smoking and drinking coffee and tea. At this point, you may choose to get a touch up maintenance kit. This procedure may not be as costly because you can probably still use the same custom trays that were originally fabricated. The re-treatment time is also much shorter than the original treatment time.
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