Teeth whitening involves the use of peroxide-based materials to whiten teeth. Most dental offices use an in-office or at-home whitening system to achieve the desired results. Before tooth whitening, the patient must get all cavities filled and the gums must be healthy. The in-office systems use 35% hydrogen peroxide gels coupled with a high-intensity light to whiten the teeth. The gums are protected, with some systems, and then gels are placed on the teeth. A laser or plasma arc light source activates the peroxide to oxidize stains on the tooth surface. In about an hour, the teeth become four to six shades lighter.
At-home systems most often use 10 to 20% carbamide peroxide gels to oxidize stains. Our team makes impressions (molds) of the mouth and then has soft mouth trays made. The patient is fitted with the trays and then is instructed to place a thin ribbon of the gel into the trays and wear them while sleeping. Most whitening occurs in one to two weeks. In difficult cases, trays may need to be worn for up to six weeks. We have found that a combination of in-office and at-home systems work best and routinely achieve between 12 to 15 shades of whitening. The procedure is safe when monitored by our team and does not damage the teeth in any way. White fillings (resin, bonding) or porcelain crowns (caps) and bridges will not whiten significantly with either method.
Some patients may experience minor tooth sensitivity during whitening procedures. Our dentists can remedy this by alternating concentrated fluoride with the peroxide in the mouth trays.
Store-bought bleaching systems are not as effective as office-managed systems. Unsupervised use of store-bought bleaching systems can cause painful sensitivity to untreated dental cavities. The mouth trays are not custom made, which can cause gum irritation, and the peroxides are not as strong or effective.
After In-Office Whitening
Avoid any colored liquids for the next three days (for example: coffee, tea, dark sodas and dark juices) as your teeth will absorb the stain and reverse the whitening results if consumed. In general, drink through a straw to avoid staining your teeth after the initial three days. DO NOT SMOKE.
You may notice temperature sensitivity for some time following your in-office whitening. We have provided a professional fluoride treatment as a courtesy to help alleviate some sensitivity. In addition, please brush with sensitivity toothpaste and avoid extreme temperatures until the sensitivity fades. Sensitivity usually lasts about one week. You may take ibuprofen, or what you would normally take for a headache, for any discomfort.
Tissue irritation is very common and chemical burns sometimes occur from the whitening gel. If you notice gum irritation, swish with warm saltwater every two hours and apply a topical anesthetic prior to eating if necessary. Colgate makes a product called Soothe N’ Seal that you may purchase over-the-counter to cover any blisters and may help them heal faster.
Results vary from person to person. For best results, follow up with bleaching tray to enhance and maintain your new bright smile.
If you have any questions about teeth whitening in Durham, North Carolina, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vincas Sidrys or Dr. Matthew Garcia, please call Willowdaile Cosmetic and Family today at 919-479-5800.