Whitening or bleaching teeth is more common today than in the past, and is being requested often by younger and older patients alike. In our experience, younger patients tend to get more dramatic results, but anyone can see improvement in their smile.
Unfortunately, fillings and other dental materials do not bleach. If you have either of these on your smile teeth and wish to change the colour, something else will be required to enhance your smile.
In our office, home bleaching is what we do most often. This is done by taking impressions of your teeth and making a shell that fits them exactly. The bleaching gel is placed in the shell for approximately 30 minutes per day for up to 2 weeks.
The procedure is usually pain free, although some experience slight sensitivity that goes away rather quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening
What can whiter teeth do for me?
A brighter smile can enhance your appearance and increase your confidence.
What causes staining of teeth?
As we age our teeth naturally darken a little. Also tea, coffee, tobacco use and red wine, just to name a few things, can stain our teeth over time.
Who may benefit from teeth whitening?
Anyone can whiten their teeth as long as they don’t have crowns (caps) or extensive fillings, because they will not bleach.
Is the process safe?
Unlike some over the counter products, dentist-supervised bleaching is safe and will not damage your teeth or gums.
What are different methods for whitening?
With in-office with bleaching agents and lasers or high intensity lights, results are fast but can cause sensitivity to teeth afterwards. Using dentist-supervised home bleaching trays, results can be seen in a week or two and treatment can be controlled to eliminate sensitivity. Over the counter bleaching kits from the drug store can be used for the budget-conscious consumer, but the results will vary widely.
What are differences between over the counter and dentist supervised treatments?
It is important to establish that you have healthy gums and decay free teeth before you bleach. Only your dentist can establish this for you. Over the counter delivery systems with trays can be bulky and don’t always fit well, unlike the fitted trays in the office. As a result the bleaching agent can be hard to control. With over the counter products there is an increased risk of the bleach leaking into your mouth.
How much will it cost to bleach my teeth?
Over the counter bleaching will run you $40- $50. Dentist supervised bleaching will vary from office to office but will be about $400- $500. In office bleaching; the chair time and team time costs will be higher.
How long will it last?
You may need to do a minor touch up on a daily basis, but the need is very individual. You may go several years before needing one. Remember smoking, black tea and coffee will stain your teeth more.