Question: What is Tooth Whitening (Bleaching) and is it safe?

Bleaching is a very conservative and non-invasive approach to creating a brighter and more appealing smile. Teeth can often take on a darker and unattractive appearance with age or from contact with staining substances. The discoloration can be caused by tobacco, coffee or tea, juices, poor hygiene, genetics, and natural aging.

Question: How is tooth whitening done?

There are two commonly used methods for bleaching: at-home and in-office. Both begin with an office consultation to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the bleaching process. The at-home technique is the most popular and least expensive. The in-office method allows us to place a higher concentration of bleach over the teeth and use a laser to accelerate the bleaching process.

At-Home Method
A custom mouth piece or 'tray' is made to fit your teeth by the dental office. This tray fits over the patient's teeth and holds the bleaching material against the teeth for a specified period of time. There are different concentrations of bleach that are worn via the tray for one to five hours per day for an average of 10 to 14 days. The regimen will be determined by the dentist and may differ for each patient. If the teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold, a 'desensitizing' material may be used in the same tray on alternating days. Results are usually excellent with this method.

In-Office Method
The gum tissues are covered to protect them from being irritated by a higher concentration of the bleaching material. The bleach is then activated by a high intensity light or a laser to accelerate the process. This method is repeated several time during the laser session. We will sometimes recommend tray bleaching at home for further bleaching results that will last. Most patients require a touch-up after one to five years, depending on the patient's habits and desires.

Question: What About Over-The-Counter Options?

Both at-home and in-office treatments are considerably more effective than the whiteners available at retail. The over-the-counter products have much lower concentrations of bleach and sometimes use materials and ill-fitting trays that can cause damage to the teeth and gums. Reliable Results Bleaching has become very popular for a whiter and brighter smile because it's fast, simple and inexpensive with excellent and predictable results.

Dental Care Center ©