In our last blog we talked about the differences between teeth whitening products available over the counter and specialized custom products from the dentist. In this blog we will delve deeper into the types of whitening available at the dentist.
- Take home teeth whitening
Take home teeth whitening requires at least two appointments. In the first appointment we take molds to make a custom tray. Once the tray is ready we then check the fit to ensure it is a precise fit for your teeth and issue the whitening agent. This whitening agent is then placed in the tray and worn for approximately an hour a night for up to 2 weeks.
This method takes longer than the alternative in chair method but can be helpful for patients prone do sensitive teeth.
One large positive to take home whitening is provided your teeth stay in the same position, the trays can be used with remaining or new whitening material for refresher whitening courses – for example a year after the initial whitening course or before an event like a wedding.
- In chair whitening
In chair whitening is the most effective and thus fastest way to whiten teeth. The whole process is done in the dentist chair. In this appointment, a barrier is placed to separate the gums and tongue away from the teeth. With this in place, we can then use a much stronger whitening agent. This allows the whitening to occur before your eyes.
We often recommend this option for patients who are more particular or those who have an event they wish to have the whitening ready for – such as a wedding or a party.
We also recommend you have a take home whitening treatment made as well – as it is an excellent way to maintain your newly fresh white smile with annual top ups
This image displays the relative concentration of active ingredient in various whitening solutions.
- Single tooth whitening
An extra type of whitening available at the dentist is an internal bleach for root canaled teeth. Root canaled teeth can turn darker than neighboring teeth as there is no longer a nerve keeping the tooth hydrated and also because of the medicaments used when treating the tooth inadvertently causing internal staining.
Single tooth whitening can take several appointments – determined by how stained the tooth was to start with and also how the well the tooth responds to the whitening agent. In the appointments, a space is made within the tooth in which the whitening agent is placed and left and sealed over. This whitening agent is left in for several days to work and patients return to see how the tooth has reacted and see if another round of treatment is to be completed or enough whitening has been completed.
In very stubborn cases where internal whitening cannot achieve the desired results – we can place a cover over the front of the tooth. His can be in relatively inexpensive composite filling material or more aesthetic veneers or crowns.\