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Here at Smile Dental we offer two types of tooth whitening – in-office ZOOM and a take-home whitening tray system.
Overall whitening works very well to lighten the color of the teeth, removing discolorations caused by aging, smoking, red wine, coffee/tea and cola drinks. It can also even out discolorations caused by fluorosis or medications that are intrinsic in the tooth structure. Yellow teeth lighten easier than gray teeth. The latter may require longer treatment times but patience will lead to an improved result.
All whitening solutions, whether over-the-counter, at-home or in-office are some form of hydrogen peroxide. This is a product we’ve used in medicine for years and it is safe. The difference from one product to the next is in the concentration and in how long, and how well it is in contact with the teeth. Higher concentrations (available at your dentist), and longer contact period mean a better whitening result in a shorter time.
What whitening doesn’t do is change the color of existing restorations. That means if you have fillings, crowns or veneers in a visible area of your mouth they will not change color. It is advised that if you want to lighten/whiten your teeth that it be done before your anterior dental work is completed so that we can match the color of your fillings to your newly brightened smile.
Which whitening system is best for you? That depends on how quickly you want your teeth whitened, whether or not you experience a lot of day-to-day tooth sensitivity, if you have any jaw problems (are you able to sit with your mouth open for more than an hour at a time?) and of course fees (the in-office procedure is slightly more expensive). How big a change you see varies from person to person, as does the type of stain and habits of the individual.
ZOOM, or in-office whitening gives you a whiter/brighter result in one appointment. You can expect to be in the office for approximately two hours that day.
We will polish your teeth to remove any extrinsic stain, isolate your teeth covering the gum tissue with a plastic material, using cotton to retract the lips/cheeks and cheek retractors with a small plastic piece to keep your tongue from touching your teeth. After the isolation procedure is complete we apply a series of applications of the whitening solution to the teeth and activate it with the ZOOM light. After a set period of time, we remove it, and reapply. The number of applications depends on the individual; three is typical. When the sequence is complete, we remove the barriers, rehydrate the tissues, and admire you new smile.
For the take home procedure we take impressions of your teeth so that we can fabricate custom fitted trays into which you will place the whitening solution. The trays help to keep the solution against the teeth and off the gum tissue. They are clear plastic, and very thin so that you can comfortably talk with them in place. Typically a person would use them for 30min/day but if you are in a rush to whiten your teeth they can be used more frequently – simply clean the tray (water and a tooth brush) apply the gel to the tray and apply again either immediately after the first application or later in the day. The solution itself is ‘used up’ after half an hour so if you forget to take it out after 30 min, no harm will be done. Most people use the trays at home for 7-10 days to achieve the desired result. The bonus with the tray is that if you have a particularly troublesome tooth that is darker, you have the option of applying the solution to just that one area of the tray to give it the extra boost it may need.
Down the road, if you need to ‘touch-up’ your whitening, simply dig out your trays, pick up another whitening syringe from the office and you’ll be back to your brighter whiter simile in only a few days.
The only real side effect of any of the whitening procedures is sensitivity. For clients who have a lot of day-to-day tooth sensitivity, or root exposure, we recommend a desensitizing agent prior to whitening and following. If you do the in office system, we will ensure these areas are isolated to protect them during the procedure. For home whitening we will show you how to ensure that the solution is correctly placed to avoid increased sensitivity. You also have the option of putting the desensitizer in the whitening trays and wearing it on alternate days to decrease overall sensitivity.
More information: http://www.halodental.ca/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/