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. Having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients and there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is doing an in-office treatment in conjunction with a home tooth whitening system that together will whiten teeth dramatically. 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 may be needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea or wine.
Tooth whitening typically requires two visits. At the first appointment, a special protective coating is applied to the gum tissue and bleach is placed directly onto the enamel surfaces of the teeth. The bleach is activated by a special light for 30-55 minutes until the desired whiteness is achieved. Impressions will also be made of your teeth to fabricate custom clear plastic trays for you to continue bleaching at home.
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 usually once a day for 30 minutes, depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experiences 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.