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.
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.
What does tooth whitening involve?
The least expensive, and also least effective, are products you buy at your local store and apply yourself. Crest White Strips (www.whitestrips.com) are an example. Approximate cost $20.00. Somewhat better is treswhite (www.opalescence.com) at $40.00 but you need to come into my office.
As we progress in effectiveness so does my time and your cost. We can make custom trays to fit your teeth and hold a bleaching gel in place. The typical routine is 30 to 60 minutes a day for two weeks. This technique is also used for touch-ups and for the methods discussed below. Cost $250.00.
Zoom Advanced Power (http://zoomnow.com) uses a special light and stronger bleach to achieve a faster result. Cost $350.00. A higher percentage of my patients experience discomfort for up to 48 hour after the procedure. Most have elected not to wear the custom trays after the office visit so some of the whitening effect is lost over several weeks.
Deep Bleaching (http://deepbleaching.com) at $850.00 is the most effective and demands more of the the dentist, the patient and the materials used. Typically there is an initial office visit to condition the teeth. The patient then uses custom trays at home overnight for 14 days followed by another in office bleach session. The patient will wear the custom trays with the bleach one night a month to maintain the result.
Bleaching results are difficult to predict. Some will have dramatic lasting results with very little effort. Others will have little change and/or rebound to their previous color quickly. There is no harm in trying the less expensive approach first to see how your teeth respond. You may be one of the lucky ones.