Tooth whitening is all the rage these days. That is because of how effective it is and how quickly someone can change their appearance. It is also non invasive and does not harm the tooth structure. Because there are a myriad of options from which to choose, we will give you some basic information here and we are available to answer any questions that you may have.
All bleaching available today uses a form of peroxide. The peroxide is very concentrated and the formulas are stabilized to prevent them from becoming weaker over time. The stronger the concentration, the more effective the result will be. In general, over the counter products will be weaker than products available from the dentist. Take home systems will be weaker than the gel used for one hour bleaching. In theory, whitening toothpastes and bleaching “strips” can work but will take a long time. Feedback from our patients has been that some but few are satisfied with the results from <strong "mso-bidi-font-weight:="" normal"="">over the counter products. Please share your experiences with us. Similarly, take home systems require diligence on the part of the patient to achieve desired results. With these systems you are fitted with a custom rubber tray to hold gel against the teeth. Because of temporary sensitivity or inconvenience, some patients do not follow through with enough bleaching episodes to achieve their goal. In office one hour bleaching will require 90 minutes of your time. There are three main systems in the dental market today and we have selected the Zoom system. First a lip retractor is placed to allow you to relax and not have to smile for the entire appointment. Next a coating is placed on your gums to keep the peroxide mainly on the teeth. The peroxide gel is then applied and the activating light is placed close to your teeth. After that, you will have one hour to relax and listen to music. When we are done, it will take a few minutes to remove the gum protector and to marvel at the results.
What results can you expect?
Results vary from patient to patient. People with darker teeth will notice the difference more than people who walk in with already white teeth. We will try to advise you and set your sights for reasonable expectations.
How long will the effect last?
As all teeth pick up discoloration over time, your teeth will continue to do that. Most people are quite satisfied with the result for a year or two or more. After that and although they will probably still be lighter than their starting shade, they always have the option for a touch up. The majority of our patients never feel the need for a touch up.
Are there negative side effects?
There are no known permanent negative side effects from bleaching. Peroxide’s breakdown products are water, oxygen and urea which are all naturally found in the body. There are two temporary side effects which are important to disclose prior to your decision to bleach. The major one is a sensation that we call “zingers”. Zingers can be described as a sensitivity or pain that occurs usually in the lower front teeth for about two seconds. Many people never get zingers but for some they can be intense and alarming if you didn’t know that it was normal. One theory for the zingers is that the teeth become dehydrated during the procedure and the good news is that they seem to last only for 1 day. The second side effect to mention is the possibility of getting white gums if a little bleach gets on them. There may also be some tingling associated with this and all symptoms will disappear in a couple of hours. To put this in perspective, our patients are overwhelmingly happy they bleached their teeth and would consider repeating the process in the future
Note: Bleaching will change only natural teeth. Porcelain crowns and composite fillings do not change color. After tooth whitening, some previous restorations may need to be replaced to match the new tooth color and give the best cosmetic result. Some individuals may not be good candidates for bleaching depending on the extensiveness of their previous dental work.
In need of immediate care?
We provide emergency phone consultation services after working hours and on weekends. Call us at our office (510) 651-8479