Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke or drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for tooth whitening:
Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
Normal wear of outer tooth layer
Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.)
Yellow, brown stained teeth
What does tooth whitening involve?
In office tooth whitening usually lasts about an hour. During the whitening, Dr. Sweeney places a gum barrier on your teeth, keeping the whitening solution off of the gums and only on the tooth. He then places a highly concentrated whitening solution on the teeth and lets it sit for several minutes. Patients who perform in-office tooth whitening typically see a 5-6 shade difference in their teeth by the end of the appointment!
During your appointment, Dr. Sweeney can also take impressions of your teeth and create a custom tray to do additional whitening at home. In office whitening removes surface staining, while the custom tray whitening removes deeper stains. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching. If you feel you need relief from sensitivity, Dr. Sweeney can give you a special calcium paste that helps with this.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.