Before beginning a whitening or “bleaching” process, have your teeth examined and make sure that you don’t have decay or leaking restoration that may cause irritation from the solution. Exposed root surfaces or eroded enamel can cause sensitivity. Also, be aware that if you have restorations on your front teeth, the whitening will not affect the restorative material, so your teeth may have uneven coloration as your enamel lightens in color.
The method we recommend in our office is custom made trays and solutions that vary in strength to help control the results and the possible sensitivity. We will create trays for you, give you complete instructions and monitor your results. More than 90% of patients have success with whitening.
OVER THE COUNTER WHITENING SYSTEMS
There are many options to whiten teeth, including strips, paint on products, rinses and toothpaste. They utilize whitening solutions and sometimes abrasives to remove surface stain. They may not be as effective as tray whitening and often do not have the option of different strength concentrations.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR TEETH WHITENING?
Patients who experience the most benefit from having their teeth whitened:
Have healthy gums and teeth
Maintain their teeth with brushing, flossing and regular dental visits
Have teeth that have darkened over time, especially due to stains from coffee, tea, red wine and smoking
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS WITH TEETH WHITENING?
Teeth whitening is a safe, effective procedure, and does not typically include any negative side effects. Minor side effects may include:
• Increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
White spots on the surface of the teeth (also a potential side effect of at-home whitening systems)
Nighttime whitening trays may cause additional gum sensitivity or irritation.
If you experience sensitivity from whitening, using a less concentrated solution, whitening for shorter periods of time, or taking longer breaks between whitening can help reduce or eliminate sensitivity. Most of the time, tooth sensitivity from whitening goes away on its own.