Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that utilizes a bleaching agent made of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to lighten the shade of your teeth. Peroxides bleach your teeth by breaking the bonds that hold staining molecules together. Your teeth can be lightened as much as 10 shades in one session. Whitening treatments improve the appearance of your teeth and your overall smile by reducing discoloration, leaving you with brighter, whiter, teeth.
Over-the-counter whitening trays contain much lower concentrations of peroxide and are not as effective as dental-grade whitening trays.
At your consultation, Dr. Michael Hanna will determine if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening by examining your teeth or taking x-rays. You should not have any active tooth decay or gum disease. If you have tooth sensitivity, take-home whitening will be a better option for you.
If you elect to whiten your teeth at home, we just need to take impressions of your teeth so we can send them to a dental lab that will create custom-fit whitening trays for you to wear at home.
We protect the soft tissue in your mouth from the whitening agent. Take-home trays are designed to fit securely around your teeth and do not run over into your gums. For in-office whitening, we use a cheek protector and protective gel so the peroxide doesn’t come into contact with the soft tissue.
In both cases, a peroxide-based whitening gel is applied to your teeth for a certain amount of time. You will apply it to your whitening trays and wear the trays each day for 2 weeks as instructed. In the office, we will carefully apply the whitening gel to your teeth and activate it with UV light. This process takes about an hour.
Take-home whitening is a great option for those with sensitive teeth, busy schedules, or who don’t need an instant drastic whitening treatment. One appointment is required so we can take impressions of your teeth.
These impressions enable us to have a dental lab create custom-fit whitening trays that fit snugly over your teeth and don’t come into contact with your gums, unlike over-the-counter trays which can damage your soft tissue.
Once your trays are ready, you’ll pick them up along with the whitening gel and we’ll give you written instructions on how to use them over the next 2 weeks. The trays are to be worn each day as instructed for 2 weeks and your teeth will gradually become whiter each day.
The in-office treatment will instantly and dramatically whiten your teeth by up to 10 shades in one session, making it desirable for special occasions like weddings or graduations. During your appointment, we will utilize a cheek retractor and protective gel to keep the bleaching agent away from the soft tissue inside of your mouth.
The whitening gel is carefully applied to each of your teeth and activated with a UV light. The entire process takes about an hour and multiple treatments may be necessary for severely discolored teeth.
Red wine, coffee, tea, and smoking cause tooth discoloration and should be avoided to preserve your whitened teeth.
Teeth whitening lasts anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Increase the lifespan of your whitening treatment by practicing good oral hygiene, attending regular dental cleanings, and reducing your exposure to staining foods, drinks, and tobacco products.
This depends on the whitening treatment you get. In-office whitening treatment will produce the most noticeable instant change, lightening your teeth by up to 10 shades in one hour. While the take-home treatment is just as effective at whitening your teeth, it will be a gradual process, slowly whitening your teeth each day over 2 weeks.
Teeth whitening can cause temporary tooth sensitivity because the peroxide demineralizes your teeth and exposes the dentinal tubules which contain nerve endings, causing hypersensitivity. Within a few days, the minerals will be restored to the tooth and the sensitivity will diminish. You can reduce tooth sensitivity by using a desensitizing gel and brushing your teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
You can avoid drinks staining your teeth by sipping through a straw.