whitening is a direction many people take when they discover
their teeth have been discolored due to aging, by medications
and chemicals or stained by beverages such as coffee and certain
types of wine.
Whitening will not correct certain forms of discoloration.
Teeth with bonding or certain tooth-colored fillings will
not bleach and appear rather unsightly as a result. A dentist
may recommend veneers, which cover the entire tooth, instead
of whitening in these instances. However, whitening can be
an ideal way to restore a healthy appearance to the teeth.
on the amount of whitening needed and what the patient chooses,
tooth whitening can be done:
In a dentist's clinic or in-office tooth
At home or a take-home tooth whitening
solution kit with an individualized customized tray
In-office teeth Whitening
When a patient chooses to have his or her teeth whitened
in a dentist's office, the dentist applies a gum gel to protect
the soft tissues of the mouth, then applies a bleaching agent
to the teeth then activate the gel with laser. It takes just
one hour for the in-office teeth whitening treatment to be completed.
Types of in-office teeth whitening includes:
When a person would rather try tooth whitening at home, there
is a choice of using an approved bleaching solution to be
done at home. Most bleaches come in the form of a gel and
are applied through the use of a mouthguard that varies in
use from overnight application to twice-a-day insertion.
For take home tooth whitening, your dentist schedules the
treatment plan according to his diagnosis, the tray is produced
and you will be advised on the safe use of the system.
Contra-indications and Limitations of Tooth Whitening
We do not recommend bleaching for smokers or alcohol users.
Smoking should be stopped before teeth are bleached. Smoking
can cause tissue damage on teeth and may defeat the effect
of whitening. The best candidates for whitening are those
with stains caused by coffee, tobacco or aging.
of Tooth Whitening
Extensive composite and porcelain restorations
If you have pre-existing cosmetic restoration
(bonding, porcelain crowns or veneers) they will not be
bleached and you may need to replace them in order to
match your new color shade.
2/3 of these people will experience
some sensitivity for 1-4 days. This is usually reversible
upon termination of bleaching.
Severe gray/blue banded tetracycline
Guarded prognosis required. Stains in
the gray family (such as from tetracycline) can be harder
to remove, if not impossible. These stains can take up
to six months or longer to whiten. Whitening may only
reduce amounts of 'masking'.
Discoloration in gingival third or exposed
Guarded prognosis for whitening required.
Pregnant or lactating
No know adverse effects but avoid use
as a precautionary measure.
May appear darker after bleaching.
Amalgam restoration in front teeth
Amalgams may need to be replaced to
avoid 'greening effect'.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
May want to consider bleaching one arch
and monitor comfort before proceeding with the other
Noncompliance or unrealistic expectation
The degree of whiteness is different
from one individual to another, the degree of shade change
obtainable is dependent on each person’s reaction.
Certain people react well while others may not be as responsive.
After examination by your dentist, your teeth will be cleaned.
The teeth will be applied with a bleaching gel. A light source (such as laser light or plasma arch light) will be used to activate the gel then the gel releases oxygen
that bleaches teeth discolorations in a gentle way, less heat
and less sensitivity to the teeth.
No. Always consult your dentist. Certain groups of people
such as infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers must not
be treated. Your dentist will advise you as to whether laser
tooth whitening is suitable for you.
This is very much related to your lifestyle. The blenching
effect normally lasts between one and four years. The kind
of food and drinks you consume, smoking habits, age and dental
hygiene strongly influence the duration of the bleaching effect.
Frequently drinking coffee, tea, or red wine as well as smoking
can bring discolorations back quite quickly.
What kind of whitening
results can be expected with professional teeth whitening
There is no question that in the vast majority of cases teeth
whitening with peroxide-based whiteners will produce results.
The level of whitening obtained from the professional bleaching
treatments is on par and similar in nature to those results
you could achieve with a tray-based at-home teeth whitening
system. The big advantage of professional whitening treatments
is not the degree of lightening but the fact that you will
experience the whitening effect immediately.
How many professional
whitening treatments will a person need?
Sometimes dentists and/or the manufacturers of professional
teeth whitening systems advertise their products as "one
visit, one hour" type teeth whitening. One hour of professional
in-office teeth bleaching treatment would be expected to provide
a color change in a person's teeth.
The other side of this discussion is to state that it has
been reported in dental literature that the average number
of professional whitening treatments needed to "make
the patients happy" was three. While results were seen
after a single visit, it typically took between two to six
in-office bleaching appointments to reach "maximum whiteness".
When determining if professional teeth bleaching treatments
are the best whitening option for you, you should take into
consideration that more than one whitening treatment might
be needed. These extra appointments will require further time
commitment and cost on your part.
Why are some professional
teeth whitening systems followed up with an at-home whitener
The protocol for some professional teeth whitening systems
includes both in-office and at-home whitening treatments.
This is becuase:
1) Some of the immediate tooth color change achieved by professional
teeth whitening treatments may actually be due to a dehydration
2) It can often take between two and six in-office bleaching
treatments before a patient is satisfied with the degree of
whitening that has been achieved.
The dentist / whitening product manufacturer is relying on
the in-office bleaching treatment to provide a quick and noticeable
color change. The at-home teeth whitening treatments the patient
performs on their own helps to compensate for the short-term
color relapse due to the loss of the tooth dehydration effect.
Additionally, the at-home treatments take the total whitening
effect possible for that person from using peroxide-based
whiteners to its endpoint.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are characteristically
performed on those teeth towards the front of a person's mouth.
An important step associated with the safety of professional
teeth whitening treatments is that the dentist isolates the
teeth being bleached so that the whitener does not come into
contact with the patient's soft tissues (gums, cheeks, and
lips). This isolation is much more difficult to achieve with
back teeth than with front teeth and this is why back teeth
are often not treated during professional teeth whitening
There can be instances where a person's back teeth (especially
their upper molars) do show prominently when they smile yet
these teeth have not included in the whitening process. If
this is the case the overall appearance of the patient's smile
may not meet their expectations. Following the in-office whitening
process with an at-home teeth whitening system can provide
a means by which to lighten the back teeth so their coloration
blends in and matches with the new shade of the anterior teeth.
You will need to ask your dentist if there is an additional
cost for the at-home teeth whitening products.