Dental Tooth Whitening and Bleaching

Dr.Alan Wishneff Boca Raton Florida Dentist Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
September 16, 2014

A set of pearly white teeth help many feel more confident about their smile. There are two main ways of getting whiter teeth. There are at home products and in-office whitening systems. Most teeth whitening products use a peroxide based bleaching agent. Products that are used in the home generally contain 3-20% peroxide and the office systems contain 15-43% peroxide. The peroxide is usually a carbamide or hydrogen peroxides.

For most whitening systems, the longer you keep a bleaching solution on the teeth, the whiter the teeth can become. It is important to look at the percentage of peroxide in the solution. When the percentage of the solution is high it should stay on the teeth for a shorter amount of time. If the solution has a high percentage of peroxide, keeping it on the teeth too long can dehydrate the teeth and can increase the sensitivity in the teeth. When deciding on which system of whitening you are going to use, talk to your dentist first. Not everyone will see the same result. Bleaching cannot whiten porcelain crowns or composite tooth-colored bonding.

In-Office Tooth Whitening

Having you teeth whitened at the dental office can be faster and easier than using at home products. The bleaching solutions that a dentist uses are normally much stronger than over the counter ones are. Your dentist may also use heat, light or a combination of both to help speed up and intensify the whitening process. The most dramatic results seen from in office treatments include teeth becoming brighter by three to eight shades. These results can happen with several 30-60 minute in-office visits. Some dentists have used newer techniques that allow them to get these results done in a single two hour appointment. The cost for office whitening can vary, but most of the time it ranges from $500-$1,000.

At-Home Whitening Options

There are many different options to choose from when picking out at home bleaching products. The following are some of the most common ones.

  • Tooth whitening gel and strips – These are applied directly to the teeth with a brush or a thin strip. The peroxide based bleaching products are generally applied once or twice a day for 10 to 14 days. The results from these products usually lasts for four or more months and can cost between $10 and $55.
  • Tray based tooth bleaching – This type of product uses a mouth-guard like tray that is filled with a peroxide based bleaching gel or paste. The tray is placed over the teeth for one to several hours a day for up to four weeks. The tray system can be bought over the counter or you can have a custom mouth guard made by your dentist. This system can cost between $150 and $600.
  • Tooth whitening toothpastes – Everyday toothpastes are already mildly abrasive and this helps to remove stains from the teeth. Whitening toothpastes contain chemicals or polishing agents that scrub away stains from the teeth without the aid of a bleaching agent. When compared to other whitening methods these toothpastes are relatively cheap in price. They won’t be as strong as the more expensive ones but they can brighten the teeth by about one shade. While some whitening toothpastes contain peroxide, they are less harmful to the enamel because they are not left on the teeth for long periods of time. Whitening toothpastes are not strong enough to completely whiten the teeth.

Other Whitening Info

Bleaching the teeth can cause them to become temporarily sensitive. If someone already has sensitive teeth, bleaching can be very uncomfortable. If you use an at home kit incorrectly, you can burn your gums or you can temporarily bleach the gums. Tooth-whitening works the best on people with yellow teeth and is least effective on people with brown teeth. Those that have gray or purple teeth will probably not benefit from bleaching systems. If you are unsure whether tooth-whitening is for you, talk to your dentist before buying or doing anything.

Keeping Teeth White

No matter how much you spend on whitening the teeth, it is important to take steps to maintain this new brightness. Make sure that you are brushing and flossing the teeth daily. And keep visiting your dentist for your scheduled cleaning. You should avoid acidic and tannin-rich foods and beverages such as black teas and coffee, white and red wine, sports drinks, carbonated beverages (dark and light ones), berries and other strongly-colored foods and sauces (soy, tomato, curry).

For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff  at [email protected]  or call (561) 488-3111Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.