Whitening / Bleaching
Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry. Whitening restores natural tooth colour and bleaching whitens beyond the natural colour.
The dentist will photograph your teeth first and then he will examine your teeth and ask you questions in order to determine what caused your teeth to become stained.
The next step is that the dentist/oral hygienist will clean your teeth. This will remove the build-up of bacteria, food and other substances which contribute to staining. The dentist will then apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. After this is done, hydrogen peroxide will be applied to the teeth.
If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive.
Different ways to whiten your teeth:
In the dental chair (Power Whitening)
This procedure is done by the oral hygienist in one session of usually an hour to an hour and a half. Results are instantly visible and long lasting.
Home whitening kit
Custom made trays are used at home for 30 minutes a day to whiten your teeth. The whitening gel is put into the custom trays, which fits onto your teeth. This is a very safe and economical way to whiten your teeth and results can usually be seen after the third day. A Home kit can be used to do touch up treatments as well.
Combination Power whitening and home whitening
The most predictable way of whitening your teeth is to combine the procedures. Firstly the power in-chair whitening is done at the dental office, and there after the home kit is used for two weeks.
Excellent results can be achieved, and the results are even longer lasting.
Home whitening instructions
Follow your dentist’s instructions on how to load gel into your custom bleaching tray. Use no more than 1/3 to 1/2 of a syringe.
Brush teeth before inserting tray.
Lightly tap tray to adapt tray sides to teeth.
Timing is as follows:
- Opalescence 10% for 8-10 hours or overnight
- Opalescence 15% for 4-6 hours
- Opalescence 20% for 2-4 hours
- Opalescence 35% for 30 minutes.
Remove excess gel with clean fingers or a soft toothbrush. Rinse twice; do not swallow rinsed gel.
If significant sensitivity occurs, stop treatment and consult your dentist.
Clean the tray with soft brush and cool tap water.
Store tray in case provided.
Home whitening Precautions:
- Do not use household bleach to whiten teeth.
- Pregnant women should not bleach their teeth.
- If you have any questions regarding the appropriate use of this product, including how long it will take to bleach your teeth, please consult CSD as soon as possible.
- Do not use tobacco products or eat while bleaching.
- White spots on the enamel or that appear during bleaching may blend during continued bleaching process.
- Teeth are naturally darker along the gum line. These areas may require more time to lighten than the rest of the tooth surface and usually remain slightly darker.
- A small percentage of patients experience sensitivity with bleaching. Should this occur, remove the tray and contact your dentist.
- Foods and juices high in citric acid can cause sensitivity to the teeth.
- Some patients have noticed temporary discomfort of the gums, lips, throat, or tongue. Should any of these symptoms persist for more than two days or progressively worsen, call your dentist. These side effects will usually subside within 1-3 days after treatment is discontinued.
- Coffee, tobacco, and other products can re-stain your teeth over time. Should this occur, the teeth can be re-whitened within a few nights using Opalescence.
- Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are important before and after bleaching to maintain a healthy smile.
- Some old amalgam or “silver” fillings may leave a dark purple colour in your bleaching tray; this is normal.
- Crowns, bridges, partial dentures, veneers, and composite fillings will not bleach.
- Store bleach out of the sun and heat. Refrigeration is recommended, but do not freeze.
- Discard any unused bleaching gel after treatment is completed.
- Keep Opalescence out of reach of small children.
- Do not swallow gel or rinsed gel. Product contains peroxide and may contain fluoride; swallowing large amounts can be harmful.
We use opalescence whitening products. The Opalescence range has more than 20 years of scientific evidence backing the system. It is completely safe to use, and does not damage the tooth structure at all.
Research articles available on opalescence whitening:
- Basting RT, Rodrigues AL Jr, Serra MC. The effects of seven carbamide peroxide bleaching agents on enamel microhardness over time. J Am Dent Assoc. 2003;134(10):1335-42.
- Al-Qunaian TA. The effect of whitening agents on caries susceptibility of human enamel. Oper Dent. 2005;30(2):265-70.
- Clark LM, Barghi N, Summitt JB, Amaechi BT. Influence of fluoridated carbamide peroxide bleaching gel on enamel demineralization. J Dent Res 85(Spec Iss A): 0497, 2006 (www.dentalresarch.org).
- Amaechi BT, Clark LM, Barghi N, Summitt JB. Enamel fluoride uptake from fluoridated carbamide peroxide bleaching gel. J Dent Res 85(Spec Iss A): 0498, 2006 (www.dentalresarch.org).
- Browning WD, Myers M, Downey M, Pohjola RM, Brackett WW. Report on low sensitivity whiteners. J Dent Res 85(Spec Iss A): 1650, 2006 ( www.dentalresearch.org).
Before & After
Please view our smile gallery
Safety in Whitening
All professional whitening products should be applied by a dental professional. The whitening gel contains peroxide and can be damaging if it comes in contact with the gum tissue. The whitening instructions should be followed carefully. If any adverse effects occur please contact us.
1. How does teeth whitening work?
Working from the inside out, the active ingredients in Opalescence gel penetrates your teeth to break down the discoloured molecules, removing stains and whitening your smile. Opalescence gels contain potassium nitrate and fluoride which have been shown to strengthen enamel, decrease sensitivity, and help prevent cavities!
2. Is teeth whitening for everyone?
Teeth whitening is a safe, comfortable way to get a bright, white smile. Results and treatment time may vary depending on the level of staining and whiteness desired. Crowns, bridges, fillings, and veneers will not whiten. We recommend visiting your dentist for a pre-whitening consult so that they can help you choose the professional option that best fits your needs.
3. How long do teeth whitening results last?
Teeth whitening results are very stable, leaving you with a stunning smile long after treatment is over. However, there are a few factors that can make teeth lose their luster. Things like genetics, diet, age, some medications (like tetracycline), and certain habits (like smoking) may affect the length of your whitening results. Fortunately, touch-up treatments are quick and easy, helping you to get that bright, white smile back.
4. Will teeth whitening cause tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common side effect of teeth whitening. If sensitivity occurs, it is often temporary and will go away once you've completed the whitening process. Opalescence products include desensitizing ingredients like potassium nitrate and fluoride to help reduce sensitivity and provide additional comfort.
5. Will teeth whitening weaken my teeth?
Opalescence products include potassium nitrate and fluoride. Potassium nitrate has been shown to help reduce sensitivity. Fluoride has been shown to help reduce caries and strengthen enamel.
6. I've heard of some whitening treatments that require a bright light to be shined on my teeth. Are these lights really effective?
Lots of other in-office whitening treatments use a light or a laser during the whitening process. You've probably seen commercials for these kinds of teeth whiteners. Or maybe you've even seen kiosks in the mall where they'll use a light to whiten your teeth. Are these lights and lasers really effective, though?
The answer is no. Current research shows that hydrogen peroxide alone (the whitening agent used in Opalescence Boost) is effective in whitening teeth, and that light activation adds no additional benefit.
We offer a free consultation with our whitening specialist at our practice. Please contact us to set up an appointment.