Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a very effective and non-invasive procedure that can visibly brighten a smile in as little as an hour. Over time, our teeth become discolored due to age and the combined effects of staining foods, drinks, and smoking. Red wine, coffee, and tea are the worst culprits that darken a smile and make it look dingy. Modern tooth whitening treatments are extremely effective in combatting unsightly stains, which will make a smile look healthier, more attractive, and may even make patients appear more youthful.


Tray-based Tooth Whitening

The most common type of whitening procedure performed in our office is tray-based whitening. Clear, flexible trays are custom made to fit a patient’s teeth. Our whitening trays are lab-made and will last for many years, avoiding the cost of having new trays made every few years. A prescription-strength whitening gel is administered to the patient to use at home for up to one hour per day. Previous generations of gels required overnight administration, but newer and stronger concentrations offer a faster result. This type of treatment is more economical than in-office treatment and offers patients the control to achieve the desired shade. Our office utilizes the Opalescence System by Ultradent. Different concentrations are available to minimize post-operative sensitivity and maximize results.

Special Considerations

Tooth whitening in our office is appropriate for most of the patients we see. However, special considerations must be taken for those individuals with receding gums, dental restorations, gum disease, and allergies to peroxide. In addition, the type of staining a patient has must be carefully evaluated prior to treatment. Yellow staining responds best to dental whitening. Brown, gray, or blue-gray staining is more difficult to treat and responds best to restorative treatment options. We will always begin with a thorough assessment of your individual clinical situation prior to recommending the appropriate treatment.

Side Effects

The new generation whitening gels used in our office have minimal side effects. However, the most common problems that are noted are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Properly fitted whitening trays will minimize gum irritation, as well as using the optimal amount of the gel. Overfilling trays will cause the gum tissue to be exposed and irritated. Tooth sensitivity is a minor issue with the Opalescence System by Ultradent. Desensitizing agents are incorporated into the gel, alleviating any symptoms. For those patients who suffer from chronic tooth sensitivity, fluoride treatments prior to the whitening treatment are beneficial as well as prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste.