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Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

There are 3 ways to whiten your teeth through a bleaching agent.  First, you can buy over-the-counter bleaching products (like Crest White Strips) which can accomplish a level of bleaching that may be satisfactory.

The second option is to have take-home trays fabricated for home whitening systems.  Trays are made to cover the teeth (similar to clear retainers) and a product is put in the tray.  The trays actually fit your teeth which is different than strips, so a more concentrated material can be used.  These products are only sold and fabricated at a dental office.

The last option is to do in office whitening.  This procedure can be done in one hour and get great results fast!  The procedure has to be done in a dental office because of how the materials have to be handled.  If the gums aren’t protected from the material touching them, it can burn the tissue, sometimes severely.  Typically trays are also fabricated so that you can “touch up” your whitening over time as the teeth will take on stain again.

When a single tooth is dark (many times from trauma and a root canal procedure), it is possible to internally whiten a tooth.  Every case is different and one of our doctors will have to evaluate the situation and your options, but the procedure is typically painless and just requires a few visits.

Reasons for tooth whitening:

  • Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
  • Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
  • Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
  • Yellow, brown stained teeth.

What Does Tooth Whitening Involve?

Take how tray whitening (2nd option) usually requires two visits.  At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.

At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary.  The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening.  It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.

You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.

In Office Whitening is a very simple procedure that can be accomplished in one visit.  A dental assistant will put a material on your gums to protect them from the whitening agent.  (3) 20-minute sessions are monitored under a light that at a specific wavelength “excites” the material and cleans the pores deep in the enamel causing them to be whitened.  Great result in less than one hour!

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