Tooth Whitening

What is it?

Tooth whitening involves the use of materials such as hydrogen peroxide, or carbamide peroxide to lighten the color of teeth.

What are the steps involved?

Steps involved:

  1. A consultation appointment to ensure dental and gingival health, and to identify certain factors that would limit the success of whitening such as existing decay, the presence of fillings on the front teeth, poor periodontal health, or intrinsic stains such as tetracycline staining.

  2. An appointment of scaling and prophylaxis to remove surface stain, and calculus in conjunction with home desensitization prior to tooth whitening

  3. Initiate tooth whitening

  4. Re-evaluation

What are the different options for whitening my teeth?

Currently in our office there are three basic systems utilized for tooth whitening.  These include:

  1. Utilization of over the counter strips.  This system uses a professional grade concentration of whitening agent.  The strips are generic and are placed over the teeth two times a day for thirty minutes each for up to two weeks.  This system is not for everyone as people with crowding, or mal-position of teeth may not achieve the desired tooth whitening effect.

  2. Custom trays.  This system involves making an impression of your teeth and fabricating a tray that is custom fit for your mouth.  This way, the whitening agents will be placed uniformly over your teeth to maximize the whitening affect.  This system also involves placing the agents in the tray and wearing them for two thirty minute intervals for up to two weeks.
  3. In office whitening.  This system involves using the “boost” system for whitening teeth.  The procedure takes approximately one hour and is completed in the office.  The steps involve the following:  first protecting the gingival tissues by curing a protective border around the teeth, then two fifteen minutes applications of the whitening agent to reach the desired colour.

How long will it last?

No matter which system is used for tooth whitening, the affect will fade in time depending on diet, and social habits.  A touch up kit is recommended to be used every 6 months to one year.  In addition, a whitening toothpaste is advised to maintain the affect.

Under what conditions will teeth not whiten?

Under certain conditions, tooth whitening is not advised.  These include the following:

  1. Patients with existing areas of decay

  2. Patients with severe pre-existing sensitivity
  3. Patients with active periodontal disease
  4. Patients with restorations on teeth in the “esthetic zone”
  5. Patients with crowns, veneers or bridges in the “esthetic zone”
  6. Patients with intrinsic stains such as tetracycline staining, genetic conditions or extensive fluorosis