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.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. Dr Dudley's team offers two methods of tooth whitening, an "In Office" on the spot method, and an "At Home" version. In some cases both methods may be indicated.
The "In Office" method requires one to two appointments of approximately 45 minutes each. Appointments are made with one of the experienced, highly trained dental assistants, Misty or Heather. She will greet you and make you comfortable. She will then isolate the teeth to be bleached, applying a protective coating to your gums. She will then apply the bleach for 15 minutes. That bleach is removed an a second application is left on for another 15 minutes.
As with any of the whitening agents, you may get some tooth sensitivity that is temporary and reversible. In some cases there may be some temporary gum irritation. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
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 "at home" tooth whitening involve?
This type of tooth whitening 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.