Tooth whitening is a process of lightening the color of teeth. The solutions employed have been used in dentistry for many years. The whitening process is most effective on mildly discolored teeth. Darker stains such as those caused by antibiotics take longer to respond to treatment. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient, depending on the structure of the teeth and the duration of the time and system used.

Home Bleaching

Tooth whitening is actually a bleaching process that lightens discolorations of enamel and dentin. The system uses a mild solution retained in a custom-fitted appliance that is worn over your teeth. Tooth discoloration causes include: aging, consumption of coffee, tea, colas and smoking. 

Tooth whitening is actually a bleaching process that lightens discolorations of enamel and dentin. The system uses a mild solution retained in a custom-fitted appliance that is worn over your teeth. 

Tooth discoloration causes include: 

  • Aging
  • Stains caused by consumption of coffee, tea, colas and smoking.
  • Dark intense dental stains
  • Congenital discoloration (from birth)
  • Tetracycline stains (drug induced)

Tooth whitening is ideal for patients who have healthy , unrestored teeth (no fillings) and would like a brighter smile.

Research indicates that whitening of teeth with 10 to 16% carbamide or hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is completely safe for your teeth and gums. A bleaching gel is placed in a thin bleaching tray that fits over the teeth. As the active ingredient in the gel, carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, is broken down oxygen enters the enamel and dentin and bleaches the colored substances. The tooth color is made lighter. Results are usually seen within the first week. Maximum results occur over the next 14-21 days. Patients with Tetracycline stain may bleach up to 6 months. 

Some people experience increased tooth sensitivity to cold during treatment. Others have reported discomfort, in the gums or a sore throat. These symptoms always disappear within 1-3 days after stopping or completion of treatment. Previous white fillings in front teeth may need to be redone. The teeth will be whiter than they were, but some patients may need periodic re-bleaching.

Professional Bleaching 
A rubber dam is placed over your teeth to protect the gums. A bleaching solution is placed on the teeth. A light or laser that generates a small amount of heat which is directed at the teeth. Oxygen from the solution enters the enamel and bleaches the colored substances. The color of the tooth is made lighter. The process takes approximately one hour. The teeth have the solution applied throughout the course of the appointment. The results are usually seen at the first appointment. Darker stained teeth may require multiple appointments. 

To get the best results the use of home trays is still recommended to supplement the power bleaching. Some patients may need periodic re-bleaching. 

Whitening toothpastes 
Whitening toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program contain polishing or chemical agents to improve tooth appearance by removing surface stains through gentle polishing, chemical chelation, or some other non-bleaching action. Several whitening toothpastes that are available over the counter have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance. 

Whitening Strips 
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible pieces of plastic that have been coated on one side with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent. Unlike other whitening systems where a whitener is placed in a tray, the strip itself is the delivery system for the whitener. When used whitening strips are positioned across the user’s teeth and then gently pressed into place so to insure maximum contact between the whitener and the surface of each tooth that will receive treatment