Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth. Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Significant color change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-office whitening. This
protocol involves the carefully controlled use of a relatively high-concentration peroxide gel, applied to the teeth by the dental assistant after the gums have been protected with a paint-on rubber dam.
Generally, the peroxide remains on the teeth for several 8 minute intervals that add up to an hour (at most). Those with particularly stubborn staining may be advised to return for one or more additional bleaching sessions, or may be asked to continue with a home-use whitening system.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits Take-home kits incorporate an easy-to-use lower-concentration peroxide gel that remains on the teeth for 30-90 minutes. The lower the peroxide percentage, the longer it may safely remain on the teeth. The gel is applied to the teeth using custom-made bleaching trays that resemble mouth guards.