Teeth are whitened with whitening gels that use peroxide as a main active ingredient. Chemical reactions occur when water, peroxide, and oxygen are combined. The whitening system we use is gentle on teeth while still producing beautiful whitening results. Whitening your teeth is a safe process designed to reveal whiter teeth without damage to the teeth and gums.
When Should a Person Start Having Their Teeth Whitened?
The soonest a person should start having their teeth whitened is 12-14 years of age depending on development, but all permanent teeth should be in and stable. From that time forward, routine tooth whitening can continue through their life.
How Much Brighter Will My Teeth Look After Whitening?
Everyone responds differently to whitening treatments and will experience whitening at different rates. In addition, some stains are easier to treat than others. Teeth that are yellow or brown stained are easier to whiten than those with a grayish hue. Younger patients typically whiten faster than older patients. There are many factors, including oral hygiene habits, genetics, diet, age, some medications (like tetracycline), and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking, that can affect both natural tooth color as well as your whitening results. Having your teeth whitened professionally will cause noticeable improvements in the appearance of your mouth and smile.
What Types of Whitening Procedures Do We Have?
Opalescence Go Trays
This is the least abrasive form of whitening. These trays are prefabricated which involves no impressions of your teeth and each tray is disposable when after treatment. The prefabricated trays are placed in the mouth and worn for 15-30 minutes before being removed and disposed of. Rinse the mouth with water or brush your teeth to remove any excess material. This is a good option to start with if you have never whitened or are nervous about whitening being sensitive to your teeth.
Custom Whitening Trays
This method requires impressions to be taken of your teeth for the design of custom whitening trays. The appointment will take approximately 15-30 minutes to take the impressions. Once the trays are ready, patients return to check for fit, and to receive the whitening gel that goes in the trays, as well as instructions on how to use them. When using these trays, you only need to add the gel to as far back as your smile zone is seen within your smile. You place a period-sized dot in all of those marked smile zone areas, making sure that none of the whitening gel gets on the gum tissues because the hydrogen peroxide can cause a burning sensation. If it happens, immediately clean the gums and massage with Vitamin E oil after treatment. Custom trays are more permanent because they last for life unless you make changes to your smile causing them to no longer fit. This makes them a good option for more long-term use, as you can whiten your teeth as you please.
This form of whitening is a series of in-office procedures involving the incremental use of LED light technology. Usually, there are three to four sessions that take approximately an hour to one-and-one-half hours. After this procedure is completed, Zoom can whiten the shade of your teeth by eight shades. Whitening trays are offered in addition to the Zoom procedure for home touch-ups later on, or you can just have the procedure done without having the at-home whitening trays made for you.
When getting started, retractors are placed in the mouth so that only the teeth and gums are exposed and protective eyewear is provided for LED lighting. Further, barrier cream is rubbed over the gums to help keep the hydrogen peroxide on teeth and off of gums to prevent the burning of tissues.
When the LED light comes in contact with the hydrogen peroxide, it dissolves a thin layer over the enamel and releases oxygen into the teeth which then pushes out any discoloration on the teeth without affecting their physical structure. It’s like a safe chemical bath for your teeth.
The treatment is non-invasive, however not recommended for pregnant, nursing mothers, or anyone under the age of 13 yrs. If you have sensitivity to cold before doing Zoom, using Sensodyne toothpaste for two weeks prior to your scheduled appointment is recommended and will help the sensitivity tremendously. Ibuprofen can also be taken before and after the procedure to reduce any discomfort from sensitivity.
Will My Teeth Look Fake If They are Professionally Whitened?
A professional tooth whitening will lighten the color of your teeth considerably without making them look fake. Please remember, some individuals with extremely white teeth have had veneers placed on their natural teeth. Some of these veneers can look like you have false teeth.
Will My Fillings, Crowns, and Veneers Whiten, too?
No, Teeth whitening techniques only work on natural teeth. But you shouldn’t need to worry about whether your teeth will whiten or not unless your front teeth have crowns, veneers, or fillings. The only way these types of dental procedures can be whitened is by replacing them.
Dr. Mark J. Cantu, DDS
7101 W. Highway 71, Suite A-3
Austin, TX 78735
Most PPO Dental Insurance Accepted
Monday - Treatment Appt. Only
8 AM - 4 PM
Tuesday – Friday
7:30 AM – 3 PM