Whitening Your Teeth: How Light is Right?October 9, 2010
Our patients often ask us for advice on how to whiten their teeth. The question often arises as to which option is best:
1. Over the counter bleaching products
2. Custom trays made in the dental office with Dentist diagnosed bleaching agent
3. In-office power bleaching
At NYC Smile Design, we have had great success with in-office bleaching in combination with the second option as maintenance. This can be completed in one session of between one and two hours, and produces immediate results. Of course it is completely painless, and requires only preliminary cleaning to remove surface stains and tartar. A consultation before the process begins determines which shade the patient feels will be his or her goal.
The gums are protected with cotton and a protective gel that hardens when applied. Often a retractor is used to make sure that gums and lips will not touch the bleach as it is applied. The teeth are coated with whitening gel (containing Carbomide peroxide), and exposed to a light which activates it. The process may be repeated once or twice after the first fifteen minutes. The results can be transforming — as much as ten times lighter than the patient’s original shade. Some patients may notice a slight sensitivity to heat or cold for a day or two following treatment, which can easily be abated with Aqua Seal desensitizing swabs.
Another popular option is a option number 2 for take home bleaching. We can make a mold of your teeth using dental putty and, from the mold, create customized clear plastic whitening trays for you to use at home. We will provide you with professional whitening gel, and show you how to use the gel and the trays for optimum results.
As with all our procedures, an initial consultation is important — not only to choose the best possible shade, but to make sure that patients are good candidates for whitening. If you have dental health problems, they may need treatment before beginning the whitening procedure. And it’s important to remember that existing crowns, veneers, and fillings will not be lightened by bleaching.
So think before you choose the procedure. You can opt for the dramatic (a bright Hollywood white,) or a more subtle lightening that may take years off your appearance, but not demand a spotlight. We generally encourage a natural look but, either way, the choice is yours. Let us know what you have in mind.