Power Bleaching & Lightening Teeth
Which method is right for you?
Teeth whitening is in demand because it is one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve your appearance. You are invited to click on our offers for teeth bleaching shown above. Discoloration of teeth is caused by natural darkening of the dentin under the enamel layer of the teeth. Teeth can also be stained by bacterial pigments, foods rich with carotenoid or xanthonoids, tobacco, and colored liquids like coffee, tea, red wine, and some soft drinks. Teeth whitening works by using peroxide-based products in different forms to penetrate the porosities in enamel to bleach stain deposits in dentin. The active ingredients are carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide reacts with water or saliva to form hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is three times stronger than carbamide peroxide, so a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide is as strong as a 15% solution of carbamide peroxide. Bleaching works best on teeth that are too yellow, and is less effective with teeth that are dark gray. We use a shade guide to determine the natural shade of the teeth prior to bleaching, then compare with the new shade afterward. Home bleaching systems are available as bleaching strips, gels with simple trays, bleaching strips, and ingredients for toothpastes or mouth rinses. Dental offices offer stronger concentrations of bleaching agent and faster bleaching time associated with custom trays or professional bleaching lights.
The American Dental Association recommends completion of a thorough exam by a dentist prior to bleaching, including medical and dental health histories, soft tissue exam, and evaluation of the teeth to rule out cavities and other conditions.
Power Bleaching Your Teeth
Power bleaching uses light energy to accelerate the whitening process in a dental office. This is the quickest and easiest way to whiten your teeth. Relax in our special tooth whitening room, where we apply a protective gel to your gums, then brush a powerful bleaching gel on your teeth. Our latest generation light supplies energy to “activate” the bleaching gel, and in 40 to 60 minutes you leave with noticeable whiter teeth! All whitening systems work best right after teeth cleaning, so many patients are choosing to stay an hour after their cleaning to enjoy optimal results.
Bleaching Gel in Custom Trays
Bleaching gel in custom trays requires custom trays that we make from impressions of your teeth in our office. Custom trays fit your teeth better than over-the-counter bleaching systems, so you can avoid waste when you load the tray with bleaching gel. The disadvantage of bleaching at home is that it takes four or five treatments of an hour to two hours each to get the same result you get with power bleaching. An advantage of custom bleaching trays is the opportunity to continue bleaching every month or two with bleaching gel available at our office. Some patients can experience sensitivity of teeth, gums, or other soft tissues with bleaching, so we recommend that you spread your bleaching sessions over two weeks or more to reduce sensitivity. You can also use a remineralizing product we offer at our office to help control sensitivity.
Whitening strips are available at our office at professional strength and at retailers in a consumer strength. You apply the strips to your teeth and let them work for one to two hours per session, typically for four or five sessions. The strips do not work as fast as power bleaching, and there is nothing to contain the bleaching agent, so there may be a greater risk of irritating soft tissues. The strips can also be difficult to remove, as they need an adhesive to stay in place.
We also offer Teeth Whitening Pens to touch up specific areas as needed. You can use whitening pens and remineralization products with any of the whitening methods described above.
It is important to realize that dental restorations will not change color with teeth whitening systems. Tooth colored fillings, crowns, and denture teeth will not change color with any product. However, we are pleased to say that we can restore teeth to lighter shades than ever, to match the lightest results obtainable with whitening treatments. You can choose to whiten your teeth before we restore teeth with veneers, crowns, or fillings to match. You can also choose the color you want for your smile, and we can offer bonding, veneers, or ceramic crowns without metal to provide the smile of your dreams.
by Keith Collins, DMD