Patients frequently inquire about tooth whitening (or bleaching). This is a dental treatment used to improve the color of natural tooth enamel. Whiter teeth are a common cosmetic concern for our patients. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel so it is important that the dentist evaluate existing dental work prior to recommending tooth whitening.
Home Whitening is accomplished over time and used in addition to your regular dental check-ups to keep your smile bright. It usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) are made of your teeth. The dentist uses those impressions to fabricate custom, clear plastic trays. You will try on the trays for proper fit at the second appointment. They may be adjusted for a perfect and comfortable fit. We provide you with prescription-strength dental bleach for use in the trays. We recommend that the bleach be applied no longer than 30 minutes per day for one to two weeks to develop the level of bleaching perfect for you. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth. The sensitivity usually subsides shortly after you have stopped bleaching. Consult your dentist if you experience prolonged sensitivity.
Most patients will need a touch-up every so often and more frequently if they smoke, drink coffee, tea or wine. Some highly staining foods can also discolor teeth.