Bleaching

  • What is bleaching?

Bleaching is the process of lightening a discoloration or stain. It works by removing the staining agents, in much the same way clothes are bleached.

Areas of the teeth may bleach at different rates, depending on the location, intensity of stain, and the hardness of the tooth.

  • What type of bleaching do you perform?

We provide in office “power bleaching”, custom bleaching trays for home bleaching, and bleaching gel pens for touch ups. If you want fast results, you can have an in office bleaching that takes less than one hour and has minimal sensitivity. For several years we discontinued in office bleaching because there was such a high rate of sensitivity. Now there is an in office bleaching technique that produces great results with little to no sensitivity. These bleaching techniques will not harm your teeth in any way.

  • How many appointments does it take and what will happen during these appointments?

In office bleaching usually takes 30 minutes to one hour and typically makes teeth up to 8 shades brighter with little to no sensitivity. You will be given a bleaching gel pen for home touch ups.

For home bleaching, you will have impressions made for custom bleaching trays. This usually takes about 15 minutes. During the second appointment, you will receive your custom bleaching trays and bleaching kit. Home bleaching instructions will be given to you. The length of time you will bleach each day will depend on the strength of the bleach you are given and whether your teeth are sensitive. For the greatest improvement, you may wish to avoid tobacco and colored liquids (red wine, coffee, tea, etc.) during the first two weeks of bleaching. You will be asked to return in approximately two weeks to have your bleaching evaluated and adjustments made if necessary.

  • What are my home bleaching instructions?

After brushing and flossing your teeth, place bleach in your bleaching trays and insert in your mouth. You will only need to place a thin “string” of bleach the width that it comes out of the syringe in the depth of your trays. Using more bleach is not necessary. Keep your bleach in the refrigerator to help extend its shelf life.

If your home bleaching product is a 10% carbamide peroxide solution, you may try sleeping with your bleaching trays in. If for some reason this does not work for you, try wearing the bleaching trays 1-2 hours during the day, preferably at a time when you will not be speaking.

If your bleaching product is a 35% carbamide peroxide solution, wear your bleaching trays for 30 minutes each day. You may increase to one hour each day if you do not develop sensitivity.

It is best to find a behavior that you already do the same way everyday and attach bleaching to this behavior. For instance, some people bleach while they are on the computer each day or on their way to work.

Most people need to bleach for about two weeks initially. Some people need less and some people need several weeks to months. Dr. Boyd will advise you about an estimated time frame during your evaluation.

When you remove your bleaching trays, brush them with your toothbrush and place in the case you were given. Be careful not to leave them sitting around if you have pets because animals seem to love to chew them. Also, be careful not to leave them in a hotel room if you travel. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or high temperatures as this could cause the trays to warp. You should keep the models of your mouth so that new trays can be fabricated more economically if you should loose them.

If you have any questions, contact our office.

  • Will bleaching hurt my teeth?

This method of doctor supervised bleaching will not harm your teeth. Our new bleaching techniques have little to no sensitivity. If you should develop sensitivity, this will go away once you stop bleaching. If it becomes severe, call Dr. Boyd. You may need to modify your bleaching or receive a prescription to help this sensitivity.

  • How long will my bleaching last?

You will need to touch up your whitening every few months in order to get rid of the stain your teeth picked up since bleaching. Some patients prefer to do this after a cleaning appointment. You do this by tray bleaching for two or three days in a row or by using a bleaching gel pen for up to 14 days in a row. When tray bleaching, the length of time you bleach each day depends on the strength of your carbamide peroxide. (See above for suggestions.) How often you need to do this is based upon how many things you do that cause staining, such a coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. Touch up bleaching kits are available in our office.

  • Should I bleach my teeth if I am going to have other cosmetic dental work performed?

Yes. Most cosmetic procedures are best preceded by bleaching. Many people find that they are so pleased with their new color that they no longer feel the need to proceed with more invasive treatment. If more treatment is necessary, your natural teeth will be able to match a new more attractively colored restoration.

  • Will my tooth colored fillings bleach?

No. Some of the stain they have picked up may be bleached away, but the original color will not bleach. If you have tooth colored fillings in the front, they may need to be replaced once you have completed bleaching.

  • Do the bleaching kits you buy from the internet, store or TV work just as well as dentist supervised bleaching?

So far, there are no “do it yourself” bleaching products that consistently perform comparably to professional bleaching. If you wish to try one of these products, Crest WhiteStrips do not appear to be harmful to teeth and gums and may be of some benefit to some people. It is best to see your dentist first to make sure there is no contraindication to you bleaching your teeth.

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