Tooth Whitening - makes your smile sparkle
- Bleaching vs Whitening
- Why Tooth Whitening? Examining Enamel
- Tooth Discoloration : The Two Types of Tooth Stains
- What Causes Tooth Staining
- Teeth Whitening Options
- Hydrogen Peroxide vs Carbamide Peroxide
- In-Office Teeth Whitening
- Deep Bleaching
- At-Home Teeth Whitening
- Pre-Bleaching Instructions
- Bleaching Instructions
- Making the Most of Bleaching
- Teeth Whitening Risks
- Maintaining Your Whiter Smile
- Before and After Photographs
Often, people with stained or discolored teeth may just need a whitening procedure in order to restore their smile.
People with stained or dull teeth usually benefit from whitening, which is a safe and effective way to brighten stained, discolored or dull teeth. Even a stubborn single tooth that is noticeably duller or less white than your other teeth or a teeth that had R.C.T. can be individually brightened.
Teeth bleaching products, which contain peroxides, actually change your natural tooth color anywhere from five to seven -- but even up to twelve shades brighter.
According to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry national survey:
- Virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset.
- 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to the members of opposite sex.
- Three - quarters (74%) of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person's chances of career success.
- And when respondents were asked,"What would you most like to improve about your smile?" The most common response was : Whiter and Brighter Teeth.
If you are not happy with your smile, and are interested in brightening your smile, have your teeth evaluated by us. Not everyone is a good candidate for bleaching. In some cases of serious discoloration and pitted teeth, for example, veneers may be more appropriate than bleaching. Moreover, crowns, bridges and fillings do not bleach, so it may be necessary to replace dental work to make it blend with the new color of your bleached teeth. If you already have one or more crowns on your upper front teeth, and you want to have all the teeth brightened - including the crowns - be sure to bleach the natural teeth surrounding the crowns first. It makes easier for your dentist to match the shade of your crowns to your natural teeth than it is to bleach the natural teeth to match the shade of a porcelain crown. Bleaching in adults generally causes little, if any, discomfort. However in children 8 to 13 years, bleaching may cause pain because of large pulp chamber.
Bleaching vs Whitening
According to the FDA, the term "bleaching" is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach ---- typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
The term "whitening" on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth's surface color by removing dirt and debris. So any product that cleans ( like toothpaste ) is considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used ---- even when describing products that contain bleach.
Why Teeth Whitening? Examining Enamel
Most of us start out with sparkling white teeth, thanks to their porcelain-like enamel surface. Composed of microscopic crystalline rods, tooth enamel is designed to protect the teeth from the effects of chewing, gnashing, trauma and acid attacks caused by sugar. But over the years enamel is worn down, becoming more transparent and permitting the yellow color of dentin -- the tooth's core material -- to show through.
During routine chewing, dentin remains intact while millions of micro-cracks occur in the enamel. It is these cracks, as well as the spaces between the crystalline enamel rods, that gradually fill up with stains and debris. As a result, the teeth eventually develop a dull, lackluster appearance.
Teeth whitening removes the stains and debris, leaving the enamel cracks open and exposed. Some of the cracks are quickly re-mineralized by saliva, while others are filled up again with organic debris.
Tooth Discoloration : The Two Types of Tooth Stains
There are two categories of staining as it relates to the teeth : extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining.
Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine wear and tear. Superficial extrinsic stains are minor and can be removed with brushing and prophylactic dental cleaning. Stubborn extrinsic stains can be removed with more involved efforts, like teeth bleaching. Persistent extrinsic stains can penetrate into the dentin and become ingrained if they are not dealt with early.
Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of teeth. Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals ( like tetracycline ) during tooth formation and / or excessive ingestion of fluoride. In the past, it was thought that intrinsic stains were too resistant to be corrected by bleaching. Today, cosmetic dentistry experts believe that even deep-set intrinsic stains can be removed with supervised take-home teeth whitening that is maintained over a matter of months or even a year.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
Age : There is direct correlation between tooth color and age. Over the years, teeth darken as a result of wear and tear and stain accumulation. Teenagers will likely experience immediate, dramatic results from whitening. In the twenties, as the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth-whitening may require a little more effort. By the forties, the yellow gives way to brown and more maintenance may be called for. By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult ( but not impossible ) to remove.
Starting color : We are all equipped with an inborn tooth color that ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey, and intensifies over time. Yellow-brown is generally more responsive to bleaching than green-gray.
Translucency and thinness : These are also genetic traits that become more pronounced with age. While all teeth show some translucency, those that are opaque and thick have an advantage: they appear lighter in color, show more sparkle and are responsive to bleaching. Teeth that are thinner and more transparent -- most notably the front teeth -- have less of the pigment that is necessary for bleaching. According to cosmetic dentists, transparency is the only condition that cannot be corrected by any form of teeth whitening.
Eating habits : The habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges and other deeply-colored beverages and foods causes considerable staining over the years. In addition, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and vinegar contribute to enamel erosion, As a result, the surface becomes more transparent and more of the yellow-colored dentin shows through.
Smoking habits : Nicotine leaves brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and causes intrinsic discoloration.
Drugs / chemicals : Tetracycline usage during tooth formation produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are very difficult to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes fluorosis and associated areas of white mottling.
Grinding : Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding ( gnashing, bruxing, etc. ) can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.
Trauma : Falls and other injuries can produce sizable cracks in the teeth, which collect large amounts of stains and debris.
Teeth Whitening Options
Three major teeth whitening options are available today. All three rely on varying concentrations of peroxide and varying application times.
Significant color change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-office whitening. This protocol involves the carefully controlled use of a relatively high-concentration peroxide gel, applied to the teeth by the dentist or trained technician after the gums have been protected with a paint-on rubber dam. Generally, the peroxide remains on the teeth for several 15 to 20 minute intervals that add up to an hour ( at most ). Those with particularly stubborn staining may be advised to return for one or more additional bleaching sessions ,or may be asked to continue with a home-use whitening system.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
Many dentists are of the opinion that professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits can produce the best results over the long haul. Take-home kits incorporate an easy-to-use lower-concentration peroxide gel that remains on the teeth for an hour or longer ( sometimes overnight ) . The lower the peroxide percentage, the longer it may safely remain on the teeth. The gel is applied to the teeth using custom-made bleaching trays that resemble mouth guards.
The cheapest and most convenient of the teeth whitening options, over-the-counter bleaching involves the use of a store-bought whitening kit, featuring a bleaching gel with a concentration lower than that of the professionally dispensed take-home whiteners. The gel is applied to the teeth via one-size-fits-all trays, whitening strips or paint-on applicators. In many cases this may only whiten a few of the front teeth unlike custom trays that can whiten the entire smile.
Hydrogen Peroxide vs Carbamide Peroxide
The bleach preference for in-office whitening, where time is limited, is powerful and fast-acting hydrogen peroxide. When used in teeth bleaching, hydrogen peroxide concentrations range from approximately 9% to 40%.
By contrast, the bleach of preference for at-home teeth whitening is slower acting carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15% solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in the world today. Unlike home-use whitening systems that incorporate low-dose bleaching agents, in-office whitening ( also known as power bleaching, power whitening, professional whitening or chairside whitening ) takes place under carefully monitored conditions which allow for the safe, controlled, pain-free use of a relatively high concentration of bleaching gel ----- yielding results that are visible immediately.
In office bleaching can be done for vital and also non vita teeth. Bleaching live or vital teeth involves coating the outside of teeth with a chemical solution – the oxidizing agent - and exposing them to heat and light for 20-30 minutes. First, however the dentist usually isolate the teeth being treated with a rubber dam which protect the gums from discomfort and irritation.
Bleaching non vital teeth are actually easier to bleach than vital teeth. One method of bleaching these teeth involves reopening the canal, placing a bleaching solution inside, and resealing the canal with a temporary filling. The bleaching process continues until the agent is removed and can be repeated until satisfactory lightening takes place.
Advantages of In-Office Whitening
- No other teeth whitening procedure produces faster results.
- This is safest form of tooth bleaching.
- Gum and tooth sensitivity ( formerly drawbacks to in-office bleaching ) are more controllable today due to thicker peroxide gels ( that don't soak into the teeth as much as previous gels ) and the use of desensitizers such as potassium nitrate and fluoride.
Disadvantages of In-Office Whitening
- In-office bleaching is more expensive than take-home alternatives. Its cost, on average, is 12000/- compared to 7500/- for take home trays.
- Results can be unpredictable, depending on factors such as age, heredity and the type of staining that is present.
Stains That are Best Removed with In-Office Whitening
Chairside whitening removes organic stains or discolorations primarily caused by:
- Aging. Over time the teeth darken with a yellow, brown, green or grey cast ( which may be due to heredity and / or eating habits ). Yellowed teeth tend to whiten most readily.
- Consumption of certain foods ( notably coffee, red wine, sodas and dark-colored vegetables and fruits ).
- Tobacco use.
Stains Resistant to In-Office Whitening
- Teeth with certain stains - typically those that are inorganic - do not respond well to in-office whitening. In fact, these teeth may look even darker after the surrounding teeth have been whitened.
- Trauma, which causes the dentin to darken.
- Tetracycline antibiotics ingested during tooth-formation. These drugs chemically bind with the crystalline structure of both the tooth's enamel and underlying dentin.
Are you a Candidate for In-Office Whitening
This procedure is not suitable for those with the following conditions:
- Tooth and gum hypersensitivity. To avoid a hypersensitive reaction, your dentist is likely to recommend take-home bleaching trays with a low concentration of carbamide peroxide - which is not as potent as hydrogen peroxide.
- Deep and intractable staining. Some stains are resistant to high-concentration in-office bleaches. in such cases, dentists may recommend a supervised regimen of intensive take-home bleaching or alternatives to peroxide bleaching such as bonding, crowns or porcelain veneers.
- Teeth that have become transparent with age. This is particularly true of the front teeth, which are thin to begin with.
Prepping the Teeth
Your teeth will likely be given a prophylactic cleaning to clear away plaque and debris that have collected on the surface and between the teeth.
A dental exam will be performed ( often in tandem with the prophylactic cleaning ) to check for potential problems such as sever tooth decay, cracks and gum disease. Bleaches can cause varying degrees of irritation if these conditions are present. Your dentist will likely delay the whitening procedure until such problems have been corrected.
- Photos may be taken of your teeth, and their color measured on a shade guide. This provides a benchmark for assessing your whitening progress.
The In-Office Teeth Whitening Procedure
While details may vary, a fairly standard routine is followed. Typically, the steps involved are not painful or uncomfortable; in fact, many patients doze or watch a DVD or TV during the procedure.
- A cheek retractor is inserted into the mouth, exposing all the "esthetic zone" teeth ( teeth that are visible when you smile ).
- A liquid rubber dam or hardening resin is painted onto the gum tissue to protect against any irritation caused by the bleaching gel.
- A bleaching gel containing hydrogen peroxide is applied to the esthetic zone teeth and kept on for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
- The bleaching gel is suctioned or washed off, and fresh gel is applied for one or more additional periods of 15 to 30 minutes.
- Some whitening treatments incorporate an intense light that is focused on the teeth and is said to activate or enhance the bleaching process. Opinions vary as to whether this light improves the bleaching outcome.
- Between gel applications, the teeth are checked to see how well they have whitened, and whether more bleach needs to be applied.
- After the final gel application, the cheek retractors are removed, the patient rinses and the immediate post-treatment shade change is measured. The teeth may whiten by as few as 2 to 3 shades or as many as 8 ( out of a total of 16 ). Part of the whitening effect is due to dehydration during the bleaching process, which makes the teeth look whiter than their true new color. That color will emerge after a couple of days.
If a satisfactory level of whitening hasn't been achieved, your dentist may recommend follow-up in-office bleaching at a future date, and / or a regimen of take-home bleaching trays.
In-Office Teeth Whitening Options
A number of brand-name whitening systems are in use at dental offices today like:
- BriteSmile, Opalescence Boost, Pola office, Zoom Chairside Whitening.
Deep bleaching is a multi-phase protocol involving a reversal of the usual chairside bleaching, followed by home bleaching. This technique has a reputation for whitening even the most intransigent stains ( due to tetracycline or fluorosis, for example ) and for maintaining optimally whitened teeth over the long haul.
During an office visit, the dentist takes highly detailed impression of the teeth and gumline. Based on those impressions, vinyl trays containing bleaching-gel reservoirs are custom-fabricated. Resembling the aligners used in contemporary orthodontics, these tray provide a unique fit that compresses right up to the gumline. The intention is to keep the bleaching gel sealed inside, thus preventing gum irritation and the mixing of saliva with the gel.
Total chair time : 30 minutes.
You return to the dentist's office for a "conditioning visit". The aim here is not to whiten the teeth, but rather to make them more permeable to oxygen.
- First, the outer surfaces of the teeth are polished with pumice powder.
- Next, two coatings of a desensitizing-conditioning agent are rubbed onto the teeth.
- Your custom-made bleaching trays are loaded with a 9% hydrogen peroxide gel and pressed onto the teeth. Since the trays are designed in part to protect the gums, the use of retractors and rubber dams is optional - though recommended for patients with extremely sensitive gums. The trays remain in place for 20 minutes.
- The gel is suctioned out of the trays and off the teeth.
- The trays are reloaded, reinserted for 20 minutes and then removed.
- Two coatings of desensitizer are again rubbed onto the teeth.
Total chair time : Approximately 1 hour.
You are sent home with a kit containing your trays, sufficient carbamide peroxide gel to be used overnight for 14 consecutive nights ( when saliva flow is at a minimum and least likely to interfere with the peroxide's bleaching action ) and a tooth desensitizer contained in a squeeze bottle. The goal is both to whiten the teeth and to make them more permeable to oxygen.
Now with your teeth more receptive to the oxygenating effect of bleach, you return to the dentist's office - this time for a standard power bleaching session with retractors and rubber dam. Depending on how deeply the teeth have been bleached using the home trays, your dentist will use a 9% or a 27% hydrogen peroxide solution.
Following chairside bleaching, your teeth will have been bleached to maximum whiteness.
Total chair time : Approximately 1 hour.
To maintain maximum whiteness, you continue using your Deep Bleaching Trays overnight once every 1 to 3 months. If you drink red wine on a daily basis, you are advised to use the trays overnight once every 2 weeks.
Dentists who use the Deep Bleaching regimen say it provides permanent deep-whitening if patients follow maintenance instructions.
At-Home Teeth Whitening (Bleaching)
Home bleaching, also called matrix bleaching or nightguard vital bleaching, is relatively new way to whiten your teeth conveniently and cost effectively. It involves filling a plastic tray with a bleaching solution or gel and wearing it for a few hours each day or overnight. Although average treatment takes about six weeks, you may notice results after just a few days.
Lightly to moderately yellowed teeth usually respond well to home bleaching. In addition, patients who are not good candidates for in-office bleaching because of hypersensitivity, time restrictions or financial consideration can often be helped with home bleaching.
For some patients, home bleaching alone whitens the teeth to a desirable level. For others, a combination of home and in-office bleaching yields the best results. Your dentist can recommend the appropriate course of treatment for you depending on the nature and sensitivity of the discoloration. You will also probably need a few "touch-up" bleaching sessions every 6 to 12 months.
As with any treatment, home bleaching isn't right for everyone. Do not use any home bleaching product if you are heavy smoker or if you are pregnant or nursing a baby. Also keep in mind that home bleaching can have adverse side effect including tooth sensitivity, a burning sensation in the gums, soft-tissue sores or ulcers or a sore throat from swallowing the bleach. If you experience these or any other side effect, discontinue the bleaching and contact your dentist immediately. Although you may not be able to continue home bleaching, you may still be a good candidate for in-office bleaching.
If you think you'd like to try home bleaching, see your dentist first. Although there are many home bleaching kits sold over the counter dentist-supervised products are applied in a controlled environment and use a custom-fitted mouthguard to ensure minimal contact between the gums and the bleaching agent. Follow your dentist's recommendations and instructions closely and visit the office for regular examinations.
The consensus is that dentist-dispensed whitening trays and whitening strips, when used as directed, can be even more successful than in-office bleaching over the long haul.
A key reason is their ongoing use, combined with the fact that small amounts of bleach remain within the tooth structure for up to 36 hours. When a new dose of bleach is applied to a tooth retaining the previous day's peroxide, its effect is greater.
Advantages of At-Home Teeth Whitening
- Long-term results : Dental professionals agree that the only way to maintain your whitened teeth is with at-home bleaching products, repeated regularly - preferably every 4 to 6 months. But lately, many dentists are advising people with very dark-stained or tetracycline-affected teeth to continue home bleaching over a period of months ( or up to a year ) for optimal results. What's interesting is, the newest teeth whitening strips in the consumer market are intended for five-minute use every day, like brushing or flossing.
- Variety : You have a choice of whitening trays, strips or paint-on products, as well as numerous whitening accessories.
- Convenience : You can do home whitening at any time of the day or night, for short or extended periods.
- Probability : You can also use at-home whitening strips while on the go or at the office.
Must-Knows About At-Home Whitening
Although you can get over-the-counter whiteners without a dentist's recommendation, if you over-use them or use them incorrectly, they can harm your tooth enamel and irritate your gum tissue. Also, over-bleaching can produce an undesirable bluish hue, chalky whiteness or uneven results ( otherwise known as "the technicolor effect" ).
Supervision by a dentist can prevent these problems. To ensure the health of your smile, see your dentist before choosing an over-the-counter tooth whitener and beginning the bleaching process. Dentists know a lot a about these products and can help you choose the right one and use it correctly.
Dentist-Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Trays
According to dental professionals, the best bleaching results come from dentist-dispensed take-home kits - particularly those that are used over extended periods. These kits contain higher percentages of bleach than over-the-counter kits and typically consist of :
- Custom-fitted application trays made of a flexible plastic material. Custom trays offer several benifits
- They help ensure that the bleach stays in contact with the teeth, for maximum whitening.
- The help prevent saliva from coming into contact with the bleaching agent ( which can dilute its strength ).
- They minimize the amount of bleach that can dribble onto ( and potentially irritate ) the gums.
Bleaching compounds are either pre-loaded into the trays or stored in syringes and added to the trays just before use. Generally the kits provide enough gel for one two-week treatment per year, plus one - or two-day touch-ups every four to six months.
The following tray-bleaching systems are what most dentists dispense:
Discus Dental Nite White and Day White ACP
Discus Dental Nite White Turbo
Discus Dental Zoom! Weekender Kit
Opalescence Trèswhite Supreme : This innovative, one-size-fits-all system is designed for those who want a quick, convenient and relatively inexpensive whitener, with no wait for custom-made trays. Many people use this system while traveling or just before a major business meeting or social event.
Trèswhite has a two-layer tray system that guarantees automatic alignment. The delivery trays are pre-loaded with a membrane-like inner tray coated with a 10% hydrogen peroxide whitener containing sensitivity-reducing mix of potassium nitrate and fluoride.
The wear time for Trèswhite is 30 to 60 minutes, once a day. Packs of Trèswhite Supreme ( 10 uppers and 10 lowers ), for use over the course of 5 to 10 days, are available in mint, peach and melon flavors.
Coated with the whitening gel, these thin, flexible membranes are designed to conform to the shape of the teeth. They are very convenient and easy to use - on mixing or molding is required. What's more, they are unobtrusive enough to be worn on the job or while commuting or shopping.
However, whitening strips are less effective than trays for removing between-the-teeth stains and are not suitable for crooked teeth. In addition, saliva can more easily find its way beneath whitening strips, diluting their potency. Some whitening strips - aren't long enough to cover a wide smile, and they tend to slip a side.
Crest Whitestrips Supreme, containing 14% hydrogen peroxide - the highest dose currently available in whitening strips dispensed at dentist's offices. These strips are wide enough to cover up to six teeth.
The Whitening Strips most dentists dispense : Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips
Pens with brush-on or foam-tip applicators provide what has been billed as fuss-free instant whitening. Used directly after meals or in daily regimens, as alternatives to whitening trays and strips, these whiteners are often considered instant "antidotes" to new stains from food, especially just consumed red wine.
The Brush-On Whiteners commonly used are : BriteSmile Whitening Pen, Zoom! Whitening Pen, Listerine Whitening Pen
Technically speaking, all toothpastes are whitening toothpastes, since they remove surface plaque and debris. But only a few contain key whitening ingredients : chemical bleaching agents and abrasives in high concentrations.
When used regularly, these toothpastes may offer backup support for tooth whitening. Of course, given that brushing time is limited to a minute or two, that support is minimal. But since we all brush every day, some consider whitening toothpastes to be potential whitening enhancers.
Toothpastes with Peroxide
Because toothpaste foams all over the mouth and is swallowed, the percentage of any bleach it contains is low, to avoid irritation.
Toothpastes with Abrasives
Most toothpastes clean the teeth with finely ground abrasives such as silica, aluminum oxide, calcium carbonate and baking soda. Whitening toothpastes contain more of these abrasives - though the paradox here is that overuse can cause more stains and can also dull the surface of dental crowns and veneers.
Floss may seem like an unlikely part of the tooth-whitening regimen, particularly as it is in contact with the teeth for only a second or two. But over the long haul, using whitening floss daily may assist with stain removal in the narrow space between the teeth, an area that even in-office bleaching has a hard time reaching.
Whitening floss differs from standard dental floss in its use of mild abrasives, typically silica.
- Two weeks before bleaching brush teeth normally with a desensitizing toothpaste like Sensodyne, Colgate Sensitive, Senquill F or any toothpaste containing fluoride and 5% potassium nitrate.
- After brushing for few days, wear your empty bleaching trays alone for few hours or even over night.
- After wearing the empty trays place desensitizing gel in the tray for one hour before bleaching.
- After comfortable with trays alone or with toothpaste, place the bleaching material in the tray instead of the toothpaste.
1. Prior to Treatment :
Brush and floss just prior to bleaching your teeth. The whitening gel is the most effective with clean teeth. Try the trays in first without any beach to check the fit and comfort. Make sure that the bleaching trays are clean and dry before applying the whitening gel. Moisture reduces the efficiency of the whitening gel and slows down the whitening process.
2. Applying the Bleach Gel :
When you apply the gel make sure not to fill the trays. Place a SMALL drop of tooth whitening gel half way up on the inner front surface of tray (in the front of each tooth in the tray). Do not spread the bleach around. Recap the syringe for next treatment until empty. The average treatment per arch requires approximately 0.5ml of whitening gel.
3. Inserting the Bleaching Trays :
Insert whitening tray in the mouth over the teeth. Seat the tray firmly against the teeth. Wipe the excess gel, which seeps over the brim of the tray onto your gums, by holding the tray up with one hand, wipe the excess gel off of the gums with your finger or tissue. Wear the tray with the gel as directed below.
4. Wearing Time :
We recommend that if you have not whitened before, use for 30 minutes to 1 hour the first time and increase the wearing time if there is little or no tooth sensitivity.
General manufacturers recommended wearing times are:
For Carbamide Peroxide Bleaching Gels:
- 10%, 15% or 16% strength can be used 2 to 4 hours once or twice/day or overnight while sleeping if no sensitivity
- 20-22% bleaching gel: use for 30 minutes to 1 hour once or twice per day (do not exceed 1 hr/application).
For Hydrogen Peroxide Bleaching Gels:
- Hydrogen Peroxide Bleaching gel must only be used for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
5. After Whitening :
Remove the tray and rinse off your teeth. Brush any remaining gel away. Brush, floss and continue routine dental cleaning. Apply desensitizing gel if your teeth become too sensitive.
6. Caring for Your Trays and Gel :
Clean whitening trays with a toothbrush and cold water. Store trays in the tray holder and gel in cool dry place away from heat and direct sunlight. The gel may be refrigerated to prolong the shelf life, but do not freeze.
- As an average, optimum results are achieved after 20-30 cumulative sessions of wear-time
- Longer wear times create faster whitening results
- Faster results can be achieved with higher concentrations of Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide.
- 50% of the bleaching takes place in the first 1-2 hours.
Conduct your whitening session once per day until desired level of whitening is attained.
Repeat the cycle daily. If no problem with sensitivity, you may replace 10% CP with a higher concentration to possibly shorten the bleaching time.
If you have sensitivity after bleaching begins, do some of the following:
- Skip a night / day or two of bleaching, and start again.
- Change from night wear (using 10% CP to day wear if not already doing so, i.e. bleach for less time. Start with 30 minutes and increase the wearing time if you experience no sensitivity.
- Most effective is to place Desensitizing Gel inside the tray after bleaching. Do NOT mix with bleaching gel.
- Alternate wear times of tray, with desensitizing material in one time period, and bleaching material the next.
Making the Most of Bleaching
1. If possible, sit or lie in the sunlight with your mouth open after bleaching. The tooth structure will actually absorb some of the sun rays, which allows the bleach to continue working. Be careful, however not to burn your skin.
2. When performing home bleaching, avoid consuming citrus fruits and juices, soft drinks and antacids. These products contain substances that when consumed with the bleaching agent can slow down the tooth whitening process and cause mild mouth irritation.
3. Decrease your intake of refined sugars while bleaching is taken place to reduce the chances of decay.
Teeth Whitening Risks
Teeth whitening treatments are considered to be safe when procedures are followed as directed. However, there are certain risks associated with bleaching that you should be aware of:
Sensitivity : Bleaching can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch. This is likeliest to occur during in-office whitening, where higher-concentration bleach is used. Some individuals experience spontaneous shooting pains (“zingers”) down the middle of their front teeth.
Individuals at greatest risk for whitening sensitivity are those with gum recession, significant cracks in their teeth or leakage resulting from faulty restorations. It has also been reported that redheads, including those with no other risk factors, are at particular risk for tooth sensitivity and zingers.
Whitening sensitivity lasts no longer than a day or two, but in some cases may persist up to a month. Some dentists recommend a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth.
Gum irritation : Over half of those who use peroxide whiteners experience some degree of gum irritation resulting from the bleach concentration or from contact with the whitening trays. Such irritation typically lasts up to several days, dissipating after bleaching has stopped or the peroxide concentration lowered.
Technicolor Teeth : Restorations such as bonding, dental crowns or porcelain veneers are not affected by bleach and therefore maintain their default color while the surrounding teeth are whitened. This results in what is frequently called “technicolor teeth.”
Maintaining Your White Smile
To extend the longevity of newly whitened teeth, we recommend:
At-home follow-up or maintenance whitening — implemented immediately or performed as infrequently as once a year.
Avoiding dark-colored foods and beverages for at least a week after whitening.
Whenever possible, sipping dark-colored beverages with a straw.
Practicing excellent oral hygiene — brushing and flossing after meals and at bedtime.
In addition to the aforementioned risk factors, a number of caveats should be considered before undergoing teeth whitening :
No amount of bleaching will yield "unnaturally" white teeth.
Whitening results are not fully seen until approximately two weeks after bleaching. This is an important consideration if you are about to have ceramic restorations and want to be sure the color matches that of your newly bleached teeth.
If, cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers or other restorations are part of your treatment plan, they should not be placed until a minimum of two weeks following bleaching to ensure proper adhesive bonding, function and shade matching.
To avoid the technicolor effect, tooth-colored restorations will likely need replacement after bleaching.
Recessed gums often reveal their yellowish root surfaces at the gum line. That yellow color has proven difficult to bleach.
Pregnant or nursing women are advised to avoid teeth whitening. The potential impact of swallowed bleach on the fetus or baby is not yet known.