Teeth whitening is one of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to beautify your smile and take years off your appearance.
Two Options for Teeth Whitening
There are two basic methods used by dentists for whitening the teeth.
The original method for whitening consists in applying a strong peroxide solution to the teeth while the patient sits under a light in the office. The theory was that the combined effects of the peroxide, the light, and the heat all act to bleach out stains and lighten the pigment of the teeth.
Then, in the 1990s, it was discovered that teeth could be bleached just as effectively with a simpler method. Patients could wear a form-fitted tray on their teeth, filled with a peroxide gel.
Dr. Root used to do the in-office teeth whitening with the light using the Zoom whitening system. But since the tray whitening is just as effective, more convenient for patients with less post-operative sensitivity, and less expensive, he now offers only the tray whitening.
Our Teeth Whitening Procedure
Your teeth need to be checked before beginning whitening to be sure there are no leaky fillings, open cavities, or sensitive places that could cause the peroxide gel to damage your teeth. It is also important that your teeth be cleaned so that there is no tartar on the teeth to block the gel.
Once this is determined, we begin by taking an impression of your teeth from which we prepare a set of trays for you to take home with you. We’ll also give you the bleaching gel and instructions on how to use it. You will put some of the gel into your trays and wear them each day for at least 20 minutes or for as long as you want. Within two weeks, your teeth will be several shades whiter. But you don’t need to stop there. Keep whitening for as long as you want until you have achieved the level of whiteness you desire.
How Does Whitening Work?
The original color of your teeth resides in the dentin layer, just under the translucent enamel. As you go through life, highly pigmented foods and things like coffee, tea, and tobacco leave stains on our teeth. Most of these stains are removed when you brush, floss, and have professional cleanings. However, some of the pigment seeps through the enamel and adds to the color of your dentin layer. The peroxide solution we give you to put in your trays also seeps through the enamel into the dentin where it releases oxygen. This oxidizes those stains. The peroxide is also strong enough to whiten the natural color of your teeth, meaning that your teeth can be whiter than they were originally.
What about Over-the-Counter Products?
If you’ve tried the over-the-counter whitening products like mouthwashes, toothpastes, and whitening strips or trays, you may have come to the conclusion that teeth whitening just doesn’t work for you. The fact is that the washes and toothpastes are not on your teeth long enough to seep through the enamel. They will only remove surface stains. As far as the whitening strips, they do work but are fairly weak. Because they are designed to be used without the supervision of a dentist, the peroxide solution used in the whitening strips and trays cannot be as strong as what we provide in our office. Nothing you can buy over-the-counter is as effective as what we provide.
Is Whitening Permanent?
The answer is yes. Once you have whitened your teeth, they will always be whiter than when you started. However, we all accumulate new stains from highly pigmented foods. For this reason, most patients like to follow up every once in awhile with touch-up treatments to maintain their dazzling new smiles.
If you decide you’d like to see what a brighter smile could do for your self-confidence, give us a call. You can also complete our online Request an Appointment form, and let us call you. We’re going to help you find an appointment time that really works for you.