Tooth whitening or bleaching is the simplest, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel. Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration.
Having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients. There are numerous of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, so it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. To match the newly bleached teeth, Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching.
A touch-up maybe needed every several years because it is not permanent, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for tooth whitening:
- Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
- Normal wear of outer tooth layer
- Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.)
- Yellow, brown stained teeth
Tooth Whitening Treatments
- Professional teeth whitening with your doctor
- At-home whitening system
- Whitening toothpaste
Professional Teeth Whitening
Your best choice would be professional teeth whitening when you need immediate whitening results. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and may require more than one office visit which usually takes 60 -90 minutes.
The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues during bleaching. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent.
At-Home Whitening System
There are several types of products available for use at home which can either be dispensed by your doctor or bought over the counter. Such as teeth whitening trays (mouth guards), strips, or paint-on products.
Teeth Whitening Trays
Teeth Whitening Trays contain peroxide(s) which actually bleach the tooth enamel. Carbamide peroxide is the bleaching agent and comes in several different concentrations. Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouth guard. Most products are used once daily up to a half an hour. If you obtain the bleaching solution from your doctor's office, they can make a custom-fitted mouth guard for you that will fit your teeth precisely. Usage regimens vary. Currently, only dentist-dispensed, home-use.
Zoom is a very simple procedure. Teeth goes through a brief cleaning first, then a peroxide-based gel is applied. Following the application, ultraviolet and blue visible light is used to activate the gel, accelerating the laser process by penetrating the teeth.
The Zoom light is applied in three 15-20 minute intervals. You will see the instant result. Your teeth will be slightly drier after the treatment, and in the next few days, your natural saliva will reduce the whitening slightly. Your dentist will explain the Zoom process.