All About Whitening

Whitening your teeth for a brighter smile is a predictable, safe procedure you can do at home by applying whitening products in custom made trays much like an athletic mouth-guard.

Whitening will lighten almost everyone's teeth.

Darker coloured teeth are whitened more quickly than lighter teeth. Teeth with tints of yellow, orange, red and brown seem to lighten more quickly and completely than those with tints of grey or blue. Any teeth that have porcelain crowns, veneers, bridges or bonding fillings won't be affected. So I recommend that if you would like to try whitening, that it be done before we make any new custom porcelain dental work.

Most patients find an immediate improvement with the very first treatment although this effect usually fades within minutes. By the fourth or fifth session, the whitening should be permanent.

The method I most frequently recommend involves the following steps:

  1. Accurate models are made of your teeth and gums by taking an impression of your teeth. Most people return a few days later when then next step is ready. If you make special arrangements, this laboratory step can be completed the same day.
  2. My laboratory fabricates flexible, transparent trays like an athletic mouth-guard that has extra space made inside to hold the whitening agent. The hygienist will try on your whitening trays, check their fit and show you how to use the whitening products.
  3. It`s best to begin the whitening process a week after your teeth have been thoroughly scaled and polished.
  4. It is important to brush and floss your teeth immediately before inserting the whitening trays .The whitening gel will not go through any plaque left behind and you will get mottled shades of your teeth.

Whitening Notes

The whitening gel is only active for 30-40 minutes…. wearing the trays longer than recommended will not speed the process but may actually burn and damage your soft tissues of your mouth. Most patients find that after three or four sessions their teeth are noticeably whiter. Usually, a total of 5 to 10 days of whitening is sufficient. My advise is to use the whitening gel until you've achieved the your desired effect.

A follow up appointment is usually recommended with your hygienist 2 weeks after whitening to follow your progress and check the health of your gum tissues,  provide any necessary periodontal care and provide you with some touch-up whitening agent if you need it.

I recommend you stop smoking during whitening. Patients who smoke regularly need to be followed closely for signs of irritation of the gums and soft tissues of the mouth, but then again if you smoke these tissues should be checked frequently in any case.

You should avoid red wine,black coffee, clear tea and any dark coloured fruits and juices as it will delay the whitening process.

Acidic beverages, citric fruits and vinegar based salad dressings may increase tooth sensitivity.

This type of whitening works by oxidizing organic debris that accumulates in porous spaces of your tooth enamel. In other words, it very deeply cleans the enamel surfaces without harming it in any way. This is in contrast to other systems where acid eats away at your enamel and coats the teeth with pigment.

The possible side effects to recommended whitening systems:

  • Sensitivity described as tingling or slight burning sensation during whitening. This is experienced by about 10% of patients and it quickly goes away when the whitening tray is removed. If you experience this, I recommend that you whiten less frequently but continue the process. If it persists, I may recommend a desensitizing agent along with your whitening product.
  • Very infrequently, redness and puffiness of the gums may be noted but completely disappears within 24 hours of the end of whitening. If you experience a severe gum irritation, stop the whitening for a few days and use warm salt water rinses.
  • Although I have no specific concerns, I advise that if you're pregnant or a breast-feeding mother you delay whitening until later.
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At Dentistry Asleep®,Dr. Kevin Dann offers dental hygiene services, routine dental care for adults and children, periodontal and endodontic therapy,  cosmetic dental procedures and dental implants. Dr. Dann is one of the few Certified Specialists in Dental Anaesthesia, giving complete, comfortable care to all his valued patients. Enjoy experienced, anxiety-free dental healthcare!  Make your appointment now!