Bleaching (Teeth Whitening)
How can you brighten your smile?
Your wedding is coming up and you want your smile to be its brightest. Or maybe you have an important speaking engagement. Whatever the reason, tooth bleaching isn’t just for the movie stars, and it isn’t just for one day. Many people have had their teeth bleached, and probably millions more are thinking about it. The desire for a brighter smile with whiter teeth is very strong, and tooth bleaching safely lightens the color of the teeth, lasting for up to five years. The most effective and safest method of tooth bleaching is dentist-supervised.
Is bleaching for you?
Generally, bleaching is successful in at least 90 percent of patients, though it may not be an option for everyone. Consider snow teeth whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown or orange respond better to lightening. Other types of gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline are lightened, but results are not as dramatic. If you have very sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or teeth with worn enamel, your dentist may discourage bleaching.
First, the dentist will determine whether you are a candidate for tooth bleaching and what type of bleaching system would provide the best results.If you’re in a hurry for whiter teeth, you may decide to have your teeth lightened immediately. Your dentist will use either an in-office bleaching system or laser bleaching while you sit in the dental chair. However, most patients choose dentist-supervised at-home bleaching, which is more economical and provides the same results. At the next appointment if you don’t choose laser bleaching, the dentist or hygienist will make impressions of your teeth to fabricate a mouthguard appliance for you. The mouthguard is custom made for your mouth and is lightweight so that it can be worn comfortably while you are awake or sleeping. The mouthguard is so thin that you should even be able to talk and work while wearing your mouthguard. Along with the mouthguard, you’ll receive the bleaching materials. You’ll be given instructions on how to wear the mouthguard. Some bleaching systems recommend bleaching your teeth from two to four hours a day. Generally this type of system requires three to six weeks to complete, and works best on patients with sensitive teeth. Other systems recommend bleaching at night while you sleep. This type of system usually requires only 10-14 days to complete.
How long does it last?
Lightness should last from one to five years, depending on your personal habits such as smoking and drinking coffee and tea. At this point you may choose to get a touch up. This procedure may not be as costly because you can probably still use the same mouth guard. The re-treatment time also is much shorter than the original treatment time.
How does it work?
The active ingredient in most of the whitening agents is 10% to 38%t carbide peroxide (CH4N2O2), also known as urea peroxide; when water contacts this white crystal, the release of hydrogen peroxide lightens the teeth; or some whitening agents contain 7.5% to 9.5% Hydrogen Peroxide.
Is it safe? Any side effects?
Several studies, during the past five years, have proven bleaching to be safe and effective. The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval to some tooth bleaching products. Some patients may experience slight gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which will resolve when the treatment ends.
What are realistic expectations?
No one can really predict how much lighter your teeth will become. Every case is different. Typically, there is a two-shade improvement as seen on a dentist’s shade guide. The success rate depends upon the type of stain involved and your compliance. Bleaching can only provide a shift in color from gray to a lighter shade of gray, for example. Bleaching does not lighten artificial materials such as resins, silicates or porcelains.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic material, which are bonded to the front of e. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Porcelain veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth, and to improve a smile. Highly resistant to permanent staining from coffee, tea, or even cigarette smoking, the wafer-thin porcelain veneers can achieve a tenacious bond to the tooth, resulting in an esthetically pleasing naturalness that is unsurpassed by other restorative options, and there are no veneers side effects.
Why a porcelain veneer?
Porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size, or shape. Porcelain veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as teeth stained by tetracycline, by an injury, or as a result of a root-canal procedure, and are ideal for masking discolored fillings in front teeth. Patients with gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may consider porcelain veneers. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed.
What happens during the procedure?
Patients need three appointments for the entire procedure: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation, and bonding.
Diagnosis and treatment planning: It’s critical that you take an active role in the smile design. Spend time in the decision-making and planning of the smile. Understand the corrective limitations of the procedure. Have more than one consultation, if necessary, to feel comfortable that your dentist understands your objectives.
Preparation of teeth: This appointment will take from one to two hours. To prepare the teeth for the porcelain veneers, the teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Usually, about a half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, which may require a local anesthetic. At this appointment, a mold is taken of the teeth, which is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers. This can take about one to two weeks. If the teeth are too unsightly a temporary veneer can be placed, at an additional cost.
Bonding of veneers: This appointment will take about one or two hours. First, the dentist places the veneers with water or glycerine on the teeth to check their fit and get a sense of the shade or color. While the veneers are resting on your teeth, view the esthetic results, and pay particular attention to the color. At this point, the color of the veneers can still be adjusted with the shade of the cement to be used. The color cannot be altered after veneers are cemented. To apply the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. Once a special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth, a visible light beam initiates the release of a catalyst to harden the cement.
How about maintenance?
For about a week or two, you will go through a period of adjustment as you get used to your “new teeth” that have been changed in size and shape. Brush and floss daily. After one or two weeks, you’ll return for a follow-up appointment for veneers and whitening teeth.
How is veneers before and after results?
Porcelain veneers are reasonable facsimiles of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It’s not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of porcelain veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth whitening. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance your smile, and can heighten inner satisfaction and self-esteem.