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Tooth Whitening for a Brighter Smile!


Now you can have whiter teeth in the ease of your own home. Over the years you may have experienced a natural buildup of stains on your teeth from coffee, tea, colas, smoking, antibiotics, food, deposits of calculus and tartar, certain minerals, old fillings, tooth nerve damage or trauma to teeth that have darkened their natural whiteness of your teeth. But this yellowing of your teeth can be easily reversed to boost your self-confidence, appearance and self-esteem.

Professional Tooth Whitening vs. Over-the-Counter Kits

Whitening is safe when supervised by a dentist and his or her staff as opposed to over-the-counter teeth whitening products. There is actually no bleach involved at all in this process. A clear flavored gel made up of carbamide peroxide is applied in the "bleach" tray. The "boil-and-bite" trays used by over-the-counter products dramatically overlap soft tissue (gums), producing more irritation. They also feel bulky in your mouth, which can result in discomfort and possible TMJ problems. Individualized trays are less bulky and conform more closely to the natural contours of your teeth, making it more comfortable and safe to produce better whitening results.

Tooth Whitening vs. Toothpaste That Promotes Whitening

Want a brighter smile? Consider tooth whitening.

It would take up to a year and half longer to whiten your teeth one shade lighter through daily use of a toothpaste whitening product as compared to using a whitening gel. The reasons for this is that the toothpaste is diluted by saliva and is only in your mouth for a few minutes or less.

With the whitening kit you will be able to see results within three days of starting the whitening process and it usually takes only four to five applications to see one color shade change.

Whitening toothpaste can only remove stains; they do not change the color of the teeth.

What Is Involved?

The best part about whitening is that you are in control. Tooth whitening can be done in your home around your schedule after only two visits to the dental office. At your first visit your dentist will check your teeth and gums to be sure that you begin the treatment in good dental health. They will then take an impression of your teeth in order to provide you with a custom-fit soft plastic tray. This tray is designed to hold the whitening gel next to your teeth. At the second visit, this custom-made mouth tray will be tried on, adjusted and trimmed to channel the active whitening agent to your teeth and not your gums to prevent irritation. You will be given your kit, which contains the custom mouth piece, syringe-delivered whitening gel and possibly samples of products to help you maintain your smile, along with instructions. You decide when and how often to bleach your teeth! Patients should return for a third visit to review their progress and determine the response of their teeth to whitening and any side effects.

Side Effects

Ten percent of patients might experience some discomfort to their teeth and/or gums and increased sensitivity to cold, heat or pressure during the whitening process. This sensitivity is short-lived and usually ends a day or two after the treatment is completed. If you have persistent discomfort, please contact your dentist. If this uncommon case of sensitivity develops, your treatment regimen can be adjusted to help you attain the best results while ensuring your safety.

Contra-Indications for Tooth Whitening

We do not recommend bleaching for smokers. Smokers should stop smoking before having their teeth bleached. The smoking not only defeats the effect of whitening, but there is concern about the mixture of hydrogen peroxide with smoking having a potential effect on tissue damage already known to be caused by smoking. If you have pre-existing cosmetic dental restoration (bonding, porcelain tooth crowns or veneers) you may need to replace them after the whitening treatment in order to match your new, whiter smile. Stains in the grey family (such as from tetracycline) can be harder to remove, if not impossible. These stains can take up to six months or longer to whiten. The best candidates for whitening are those with stains caused by coffee, tobacco or aging. If you have trouble eating ice cream or drinking cold drinks, you may have a sensitivity response to this treatment. This can usually be eliminated by deceasing the time you wear your trays or by following our suggestions for sensitive teeth. Tooth whitening is not recommended for patients who are pregnant or lactating and is not indicated for use with children.


If restorations are planned for the anterior (front) part of your mouth, it is advisable to accomplish the whitening first, then match the new restorations to the now whitened teeth. You will need to plan to wait three weeks after bleaching before starting these restorative procedures. We cannot predict the effectiveness of the whitening agent, so it is recommended that whitening be tried first to see what degree of shade change is obtainable because each person's reaction to whitening is so individual.

The results for people who don't smoke, drink coffee, tea or red wine, and have good dental health habits see little to no change in their whitening effect for up to five years after treatment. You can easily "touch-up" the results at home within a few days once or twice a year. And don't forget to keep your regular dental visits twice a year.

For permanent change, you should consider the placement of veneers.

Tooth Whitening Instructions — How Does it Work?

The active ingredient in the gel that causes the whitening is carbamide peroxide. This ingredient breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an oxygenating agent, causing oxygen to enter the enamel and dentin (the outer layers of your teeth) to break up deposits lodged in your tooth structure. This whitening acts only on the molecules that carry the discoloration and its effects will depend on the strength and duration of its contact with your teeth. The strength of this active agent is limited by safety concerns. Your tooth structure remains unchanged; only the tooth surface is made lighter. Porcelain restorations and white fillings will not usually whiten.


Brush and floss your teeth before putting in your bleaching trays.

Apply a small thin line of peroxide-based gel into each of the tooth imprints in the tray.

Do not overfill the tray!

Insert the tray into your mouth and seat the tray firmly against your teeth; be sure not to push all the gel out.

Wipe the excess material from your gum with your finger or dry toothbrush.

Try to wear the trays about two to three hours per day, or for convenience sake, you can wear the trays overnight (the gel loses 80 percent of its activity after two hours of being in your mouth).

Rinse your mouth after removing the trays and brush away any remaining gel.

Clean the tray with a toothbrush and warm water. Hot water will damage the tray; dry carefully and store in the tray holder in a cool, dry place.

Avoid eating, drinking or smoking while the whitening tray is in place.

Don't use any household or other whitening products to whiten your teeth.

Keep out of reach of children.

Keep away from direct sunlight.

Maximum results are achieved when the process is continued for 14 nights.

Avoid citrus fruits and other acidic foods while in process of bleaching. They can contribute to sensitivity by changing the acidity of your saliva and could cause damage to the outer tooth surfaces or slow down the whitening process.

Avoid tobacco, coffee, dark colas and red wines because these substances may restain your teeth.

You should avoid stain-causing beverages such as coffee, tea or cola for several days after the procedure, because your teeth may more readily absorb stain at this time.

After two to four weeks your teeth are probably bleached as much as possible.

The area of the tooth closest to the gums may take longer to whiten than the biting edge and will continue to remain the darkest part of the tooth.

Renew the whitening as needed (every three to six months). Re-apply the gel in the tray and wear the tray for two to three hours two or three times.

Daily brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings will keep your teeth whiter!

Side Effects

10 percent of patients might experience some discomfort to their teeth, gums, lips or throat and increased sensitivity to cold, heat, or pressure during the whitening process. This sensitivity is short lived and usually ends a day or two after the treatment is completed. If any of these symptoms occur and are more than mild or you have persistent discomfort, discontinue the treatment until you can contact your dentist. These symptoms usually reside one or two days after interrupting the treatment.


If you do develop sensitive teeth try these things:

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush, special toothpaste (i.e. Sensodyne) for sensitive teeth and a fluoride rinse or gel for sensitive teeth. A sensitivity protection toothpaste will usually take a couple of weeks to ease the discomfort. You can also cut down the time of whitening in order to control these problems. Some times breaking up the amount of time whitening is done into smaller, longer spaced segments, will alleviate the sensitivity problem. As of this time there seems to be no apparent long term problems with tooth whitening


If restorations are planned for the anterior (front) part of your mouth it is advisable to accomplish the whitening first, then match the new restorations to the now bleached teeth. You will need to plan to wait three weeks or longer after whitening before starting these restorative procedures. Don't use the treatment while pregnant or lactating or with children.


Usually we cannot predict the effectiveness of whitening for each individual patient. The degree of whitening is variable because each person's reaction to the procedure is individual. But your own long term results will depend on if you smoke, drink coffee/tea/red wine and if you have good dental health habits. Depending on your daily dental care habits you may need "touch-up' treatments at regular intervals You can periodic re-treat at home to maintain the desired color and shade. To help keep your teeth white, don't forget to see your dentist twice a year!

For a permanent change, you should consider the placement of Veneers.

If you need a dentist for teeth whitening, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!

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