How To Get A Brighter, Whiter Smile
Tooth or teeth whitening is a generic term for any method used to remove discoloration from human teeth. There are three methods, bleaching, the application of hydrogen peroxide, dental bonding, the application of a plastic like material termed composite resin, and porcelain veneers, the application of thin fingernail-like porcelain coatings. Bleaching will be discussed here, click on these links for dental bonding and porcelain veneers for a full explanation of those methods.
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How does whitening work?
All bleaching systems use hydrogen peroxide – just like hair lightening products – as the active ingredient. Although not Clorox, its called bleach. The difference between systems lies in the concentration of peroxide and method of application. Do not be taken in by elaborate marketing – all bleaching systems use generic peroxide. In office bleaching involves the one-hour application of a powerful peroxide – in fact, your gums must be isolated from the peroxide or a minor burn can result. Teeth can also become quite sensitive. Custom tray whitening, which is done at home, involves placing a slow-release peroxide gel into a custom molded, precise fitting trays. Best results are achieved with 8 consecutive overnight applications. Sensitivity is uncommon, and minor when it happens.
Home bleaching with custom trays is by far the most common whitening method. All bleaching fades in about a year; with custom trays, the patient simply buys more peroxide gel (about $25/year at our office – our cost) and places the trays for 8 more nights. Since this system can be used indefinitely, repeated charges of a dentist applied in-office whitening system are not incurred.
What are the downsides to peroxide whitening?
Over the counter systems are not recommended. All use peroxide impregnated strips which fold over the teeth. Contact of peroxide to teeth is poor at best, resulting in only minor whitening. Also, the cost is high – currently, Crest White Strips sells for $62/box on Amazon and must be repurchased yearly.
As a benefit to existing patients, and to attract new patients, we only charge $199 for our custom tray home whitening. Buy peroxide gel refills and the system will last indefinitely. Again, its peroxide, a generic product. Like sugar or milk, it need not be expensive.
By the way, we love new patients and are happy to see anyone we can help. Please come in for a no-cost consultation on any cosmetic work, or any work at all, or just for our $199 bleaching system.