Teeth whitening is a very common procedure done by dental patients. The procedure is extremely safe, easy, and can generate noticeable results very quickly. As a cosmetic dentist office in a Spring, TX. We have provided many patients with dental bleaching and would like to share some of the most common questions and concerns by patients, as detailed below.
What exactly is dental bleaching and what are its indications?
Dental bleaching is a dental procedure that literally bleaches, or whitens teeth surface that have been stained or darkened by food, drink, or smoking. It is most effective against extrinsic or surface stains. Intrinsic stains such as tetracycline staining, internal root resorption, or internal tooth damage are generally not as responsive to bleaching.
How is dental bleaching performed?
Dental bleaching can be done in office or at home. In-office staining generally consists of a one-hour appointment in which the gums around the teeth are covered and then bleaching gel applied to the teeth. A special light may or may not be used to accelerate the progress and the patient then sits for an hour letting the bleaching process take place.
Home bleaching involves making custom bleaching trays for the patient and the a-toe to instructed on the use of bleaching gels. The gel is applied to the front surface of the trays and the trays worn (top and bottom) to bleach the teeth. This is the method our office recommends as it is cheaper, easier to use, more convenient for the patient, and just as effective as the in-office method.
How is at-home bleaching done?
Our office recommends that at-home bleaching be done over a two week period in which bleaching is done in intervals of 2-3 consecutive days, separated by a rest day or two. For patients new to bleaching, it is advisable to start at 30 minute duration per day. With experience patients will discover their optimal duration times.
In addition, bleaching gels come in various concentrations ranging from 8-35%. Our office generally recommends against using the highest concentration due to sensitivity and possible gum burns (below). However, some patients may be good candidates for the higher concentrations.
Are there any possible side effects of de gal bleaching?
Yes there can be, but virtually all are temporary and will disappear when bleaching is stopped. The most common ones are teeth sensitivity and gum burns. However, these are all temporary and will vanish as soon as bleaching is stopped for a day or two.
How much whitening can I expect from bleaching?
Generally, expect about 6-7 shades of whitening as based on a common shade guide, the Vita 2-D shade guide. What happens usually is that 7-8 shades of whitening is reached, but then 1-2 shades are lost as teeth “rebound” a bit so the final result is more like 6-7 shades.
Is the whitening permanent or do I need to do more in the future?
Teeth that are whitened can darken just like normal teeth would in time due to food, drink, or smoking. Therefore, we recommend “touching up” or maintaining the whitening results by bleaching once a month for 1-2 days. Experience has shown that doing this will keep the teeth at a desired shade indefinitely and consistently.
What is the ideal white to have?
It seems like Hollywood and everyone nowadays want as white as possible.
While it is understandable for people to want shades that are as white as possible, reality is that we want a white shade that is harmonious and matching with the rest of a patient’a features. As a rule, the best white shade to have would be one that matches the white of the patients eye (assuming no disease like jaundice, of course). This is because we want the teeth and eyes to complement each other, and neither should draw u wanted or disproportionate attention.
The current Hollywood “white” is actually not the dental ideal, as the stars’ teeth can appear too white and look unreal. In addition, the white that many of the stars show is most likely not due to bleaching, but cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or crowns. We recommend using proper judgment to achieve a natural, desirable result.
Can bleaching whiten existing crowns and fillings?
No, dental bleaching cannot whiten existing dental restorations. For this reason, if patients want a dental restoration in the aesthetic region and also want whitening, we highly recommend to bleach the teeth first, letting them settle to a final desired shade, and then get the restoration. Otherwise, patients run a risk of having restorations that look darker than desired.
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