Cosmetic

TEETH WHITENING

Teeth whitening is a very popular cosmetic dentistry procedure that is safe and proven to brighten your smile.  Their are many effective methods for increasing the brightness of your smile.  Very simply, brushing at home daily with a American Dental Association approved toothpaste and regular flossing is a great place to start the whitening process.  Alternatively, a traditional method of brushing with a baking soda slurry can be used to improve the luster of teeth and to remove superficial stains.  Their also exist many over-the-counter whitening toothpastes and mouthrinses that can help brighten your smile.  Most teeth discoloration happens over many years of exposure to dark foods and beverages like coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, berries, and soda.  These dark pigments reach the inside layers of your teeth and result in a darker hue.  Dark stain on the inside of the tooth can really only be removed with the application of hydrogen peroxide which is absorbed by your teeth and elminates stain, thus increasing the brightness of your smile.

For teeth whitening, 3 cosmetic dentistry techniques are used to get results:

  • At-home teeth whitening with custom made whitening trays
  • ZOOM teeth whitening done in 1 office visit
  • At-home teeth whitening with do-it-yourself Crest White-Strips

We get the best results with the at-home, custom made tray approach. You receive custom made trays (soft clear plastic retainers) and a supply of whitening gel. The trays with teeth whitening gel are worn everyday for 30 minutes or overnight for 2-3 weeks until you’re happy with the brightness of your smile. This method of teeth whitening is the most predictable with the smallest incidence of tooth sensitivity. The trays are reusable so you can "freshen up" your smile, when needed, with a low cost whitening gel refill.

ZOOM whitening is a hassle free, 1 hour method to immediately brighten your smile. ZOOM whitening is completed here in the office by one of our qualified dental assistants. ZOOM uses unique LED technology to activate and accelerate the teeth whitening process. Included in the ZOOM whitening procedure are custom made teeth whitening trays and gel for use at home. These can be worn for 30 minutes during the day or overnight to keep you smiling bright. 

Patients have also purchased Crest White-Strips, a do-it-yourself kit available in our office or local pharmacies, and successfully whitened their teeth. This low cost alternative is a good first step toward a brighter smile. However, the results can vary because the teeth whitening agent is less concentrated, and they can slip out of place. For those with mild yellowing, Crest White Strips may be a good option. Expect teeth whitening to take a bit longer using this method. 

What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that uses a mild peroxide gel to lighten discolored enamel and dentin (the underlying tooth structure) by oxidizing stained tooth cells. Teeth whitening is not permanent and may be repeated often. 

What causes tooth discoloration?
Teeth acquire stains most commonly through our diet: Coffee, tea, red and white wine, sodas, and tobacco are the usual suspects. Other causes of tooth discoloration include tooth injury, a previously root-canaled tooth, a dying or degenerating tooth, and old tooth colored bondings. The antibiotic tetracycline or excessive fluoride when you’re young may also cause tooth discoloration.

Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
Most everyone can benefit from tooth whitening. Sometimes, however, tooth whitening alone cannot achieve the results we seek. Your dentist may determine the viability of teeth whitening for you through an oral exam and diagnosis. One should note that existing fillings and/or porcelain crowns cannot be whitened by using whitening gels.

Is the process safe?
YES! Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth with hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums. Some people experience tooth sensitivity during the process, but it’s only temporary.

How does it work?
The whitening gel is placed in a thin tray that fits over your teeth. As the active ingredient in the gel reacts with your teeth, oxygen enters the tooth and whitens the colored substances. The structure of the tooth is not changed; only the tooth color is made brighter.

How long does it take?
Results are usually seen after the first application. Maximum results generally occur when the process is continued for 10-14 nights.  Stubborn teeth stains may take longer. There are new stronger gels that can be used as you sleep, with quicker results.

How long do the results last?
The teeth will always be lighter than they once were. However, some patients may want a tooth whitening "touch-up" for 1-2 days, once or twice a year.