Tooth Whitening

Tooth Whitening make natural teeth look their brightest.

I would like to whiten my teeth

Chances are you picked up this page because you’re interested in having your teeth cosmetically lightened. You’re not alone. In fact, it seems only natural that most dental patients today are interested in having the whitest, brightest smiles possible. At one time, crowns (caps) were the only alternative to restoring badly discolored or decayed teeth. More recently, porcelain veneers and composite bonding have become available as an attractive alternative.

Now there’s another alternative available to make natural teeth look their brightest. This process reverses the discoloration of tooth enamel to create a whiter, more esthetic appearance. The advantages of this procedure are that no natural tooth structure is lost, and no anesthetic is required.

Is Tooth Whitening For Everyone?

Not necessarily. As mentioned previously, it is only one alternative to lightening discolored teeth. Determining whether or not you are a candidate for tooth whitening is largely based upon diagnosing the exact cause of tooth discoloration. A number of factors contribute to discoloration, including:

  • tetracycline (antibiotic) staining
  • excessive fluoride
  • trauma (injury) to the teeth
  • pulp (nerve) degeneration
  • restorative materials (silver, gold)
  • genetic and acquired illnesses
  • aging
  • consumption of staining substances, such as coffee, tea or tobacco products.

Another consideration in determining whether tooth whitening is for you is the strength and condition of your teeth. Careful clinical examinations and X-rays will help determine whether you are a candidate for this procedure.

What Tooth Whitening Options Are Avaiable?

The two major types of tooth whitening systems are in-office (active) or passive (conducted by the patient at home while closely supervised by the dentist.) Sometimes your dentist may recommend either system or a combination of both, to give you the best results in the least amount of time. Regardless of which type of system you choose, it’s important that you follow the recommendations of your dentist. Self-treatments (as advertised on television) can be dangerous!

What Happens During In-Office Tooth Whitening?

This procedure is done in a series of appointments (usually 3-5) until the desired effect is achieved. During in-office tooth whitening a solution of hydrogen peroxide is carefully applied to the selected teeth. The teeth are then exposed to a special light (at a fairly close range) to accelerate the bleaching process. A number of steps are involved to endure the most esthetically pleasing results. There are many benefits of teeth whitening.

  • Lubricant is applied to the gums.
  • A protective material (dental dam) is placed around the necks of the teeth to isolate your gums, tongue and lips.
  • The teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove excess lubricant.
  • Conditioner is applied; then the teeth are rinsed and dried.
  • The teeth to be whitened are covered with cotton gauze.
  • The whitening solution is applied to the gauze covered teeth and a special light is positioned. (You may be given a pair of glare-reducing eyeglasses to wear during the procedure.)
  • When the lightening process is completed, the gauze and dental dam are removed.
  • The teeth are given a final polish.