Tooth whitening (bleaching) is a simple and non-invasive method to change the color of natural teeth and to achieve a dazzling smile. There are a number of methods used for tooth whitening, but the most popular is a system used at home which will dramatically whiten teeth. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel it is important to assess the need for replacement of fillings, crowns or other restorations, which will remain the same color. If replacement is necessary, it will be done after tooth whitening in order to match the color precisely.
Tooth whitening is ideal for treatment of fluorosis (excessive exposure to Fluor during tooth development), teeth stained by medicine (tetracycline, for example), coffee or other substances.
Tooth whitening requires two dental visits. Impressions (molds) of your teeth will be taken during the first visit in order to custom fabricate clear plastic trays. On the second visit, the trays will be tried and adjusted, if necessary, for proper fit.
The trays will be worn at home with a special whitening solution for 30 minutes, twice a day or else overnight for a period of 2 or more weeks, depending on the intensity of the stains. Normally, teeth are sensitive during the whitening period, but this sensitivity disappears quickly after completion of the whitening. Tooth whitening is not permanent and may require touch-ups every once in a while, more often if you smoke or if you drink coffee, tea or red wine.