Bleaching is a very conservative and non-invasive approach to creating a brighter and more appealing smile. Teeth can often take on a darker and unattractive appearance with age or from contact with staining substances. Tobacco, coffee or tea, juices, poor hygiene, genetics, and natural aging can cause the discoloration. Bleaching has become very popular for a whiter and brighter smile because it’s fast, simple and inexpensive with excellent and predictable results.
How It’s Done
There are two commonly used methods for bleaching: at-home and in-office. Both begin with an office consultation to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the bleaching process. The at-home technique is least expensive. The in-office method (power bleaching) allows the dentist to place a higher concentration of an oxidizing agent to the teeth.
Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures
A custom mouthpiece or “tray” is made by the dental office to fit your teeth. This tray fits over the patient’s teeth and holds the bleaching material against the teeth for a specified period of time. There are different concentrations of bleach that are worn via the tray for 30 minutes per day for an average of 10 to 14 days. The regimen will be determined by the dentist and may differ for each patient. If the teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold, a “desensitizing” material may be used in the same tray on alternating days. Results are usually excellent with this method and the trays can be used to remove to remove future staining.
In-Office Method (Power Bleaching)
The gum tissues are covered to protect them from being irritated by a higher concentration of the bleaching material. The bleach may be then activated by a high intensity light or a laser to accelerate the process. This method is usually repeated at separate appointments. Most patients require a touch-up after one to five years, depending on the patient’s habits and desires.
BriteSmile™ In-Office Bleaching Method (One hour treatment)
BriteSmile is one of the newest and most advanced trends in teeth whitening. It works by using a powerful but gentle bleaching gel that is activated by light. It is a quick, easy, and effective way of whitening teeth.
What About Over-The-Counter Options?
Both at-home and in-office treatments are considerably more effective than the whiteners available at retail outlets. The over-the-counterbproducts have much lower concentrations of bleach and sometimes use materials and ill-fitting trays that can cause damage to the teeth and gums.