Teeth Whitening

What are the details of Teeth Whitening?

It is safe, quick, and inexpensive.  At any appointment, just let us know if you would like to begin the bleaching process. You can lighten only your upper teeth or both the upper and lower depending on how much you show when you talk and smile.

In only a day or two your custom bleach trays will be ready for you. We provide a special bleaching agent that you put into the clear trays. With only a few hours of wear per day, the bleaching agent bubbles stains right out of your enamel without altering tooth structure or existing dental work. Once your teeth reach the desired brightness, occasional treatment is needed to maintain your new smile.

Dental bleaching can be used to correct mild to moderate tooth discoloration which can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. In cases of extreme tooth discoloration, full coverage crowns or veneers may be the better or only choice.  But because of the low cost of bleaching treatments, bleaching is nearly always worth a try.


Key Benefits of Teeth Whitening:

  •  Improves brown, yellow, and mottled teeth stains.
  •  Improve the aesthetics of your smile, regardless of age.
  • It is often a quick and easy solution for a “dull” smile and restoring lost brightness.

How is teeth whitening done?

An impression is taken to make a specialized tray to hold the bleaching solution against the teeth. The material is used each night for about two to three hours for two to three weeks.  By the end of this time, significant whitening will occur. In some cases, the change is  dramatic.

Considerations for Teeth Whitening

Over-the-counter bleaching agents are available for purchase at drug stores and pharmacies.  Federal regulations currently require over-the-counter products to remain at a very low concentration of bleachant and we often suggest the patient try those products first as a very cost effective means of brightening their smile.  However, if the lower concentration product is not as effective as the patient desires, we can provide solutions with stronger bleaching capabilities which may give the level of brightness sought. For very severely stained teeth, crowns or veneers may be more appropriate.

What can cause tooth discoloration?

There are many causes. The most common include consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, or tobacco. During tooth formation consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics, or excessive fluoride may also cause internal tooth discoloration which may not respond to conventional tooth bleaching techniques.

Who may benefit from tooth whitening?

Just about anyone can benefit from tooth whitening. However, treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. With an oral exam, Dr. Fischer can determine if you are a candidate for this procedure, including a shade assessment.  Tooth bleaching procedures may not benefit everyone, though, or be as effective for one patient as another.  Tooth whitening may be expected to work well for yellowish hued teeth, less well for brown tinted teeth and likely poorly for teeth exhibiting a greyish-blue coloration.  Teeth having multiple tooth colored fillings may not be good candidates for whitening procedures as the fill materials will not respond to the bleaching material resulting in an uneven appearance of the tooth.

Is tooth whitening safe?

Yes, research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. Tooth bleaching products use varying formulations of a peroxide solution to remove surface and slightly subsurface stains and discolorations.  Used as recommended, these products are safe and have proven to have no long term detrimental effects.  Tooth whitening products, are not recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.

Are there any side effects?

Some people experience temporary increased tooth sensitivity to cold during treatment. These symptoms disappear within 1-3 days after interruption or completion of the treatment.

Do the results last a long time?

Results will vary by patient, but by following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will be lighter than they were before. We recommend flossing, brushing twice daily, and periodic touch-ups with the bleachant gel after the initial treatment. Even with routine and careful home care, the tooth whitening procedure is not permanent.  Periodic applications of the bleachant gel will be necessary to maintain the level of brightness achieved by the initial  whitening process.  Patients desiring other cosmetic procedures such as veneers or crowns in the cosmetic zone with bleaching as a component of the overall treatment plan should understand that restorations fabricated to match a natural  tooth which has been bleached will no longer match if the bleaching process is disregarded over time.