Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, noninvasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth is now the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, several ways to whiten teeth are now available. The most popular method is using a home teeth-whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to plan for the replacement of any old fillings, crowns, or other restorations, 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 or drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for tooth whitening
Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
Normal wear of outer tooth layer
Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, for example)
Yellow, brown stained teeth
What tooth whitening involves
Tooth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to make customized 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 the desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during this time, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, which include making regular visits to the dentist to help maintain your beautiful--improved--healthy smile.