Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is the leading way to enhance the beauty of your smile. The main ingredient in the whitening gel is hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.
Reasons for teeth whitening:
Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
Yellow, brown stained teeth.
Options in teeth whitening
There are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is the one-hour office whitening procedure. Teeth are exposed to the whitening gel that is activated by a safe LED blue light. ln just one hour, whiter teeth can be achieved dramatically.
The second type is the home whitening system. This type 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.
Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate any old fillings and/or crowns which might need replacement to match the newly bleached teeth. Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every 6 - 12 months, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.