One of the most popular elective procedures in dentistry today is tooth whitening. Over time, teeth tend to stain due to certain drinks (coffee, tea, or dark sodas) and especially due to smoking. Tooth whitening can help to eliminate the buildup of these stains on the surface of your teeth.
Whitening can be completed in several ways:
Some patients may notice sensitivity when whitening their teeth. These patients should consult a dental professional about this. Many of the products that are available for bleaching through a dental office can be provided with desensitizers to minimize this side effect. Occasionally, a patient may be unable to whiten due to extreme sensitivity.
Certain types of stains present in a tooth may not be able to be removed through bleaching. Gray stains are particularly hard to remove, especially when due to childhood staining from antibiotics, known as tetracycline staining. Also, teeth that have had trauma can darken extensively and may not be able to be bleached properly. Teeth with these whitening problems may require another dental procedure, such as a veneer or crown, to hide their dark color.
Teeth with crowns or veneers or that have been bonded with white fillings are unable to whiten with bleaching. Care is taken to ensure that bleaching will either be made to lighten just to the shade of the crowns or bonding present, or a treatment plan may be made that includes replacement of these restorations.
Our office regularly makes bleaching trays for patients and we offer the newest procedures for in-office whitening, utilizing the ZOOM!2 system. Call our office for a consult today to obtain a brighter smile.
A secondary option for enhanced tooth whiteness or an improved appearance is through the use of dental veneers. A veneer is a thin porcelain covering that is made to reshape teeth, realign crooked teeth or provide a color for a tooth that is not otherwise possible through bleaching. Many celebrities seen today, from actors to politicians, have veneers placed to reach a level of whiteness that is not possible through standard bleaching.
Veneers generally take two appointments to complete.
Appointment #1: At the first appointment, a thin layer of the surface of the tooth is removed to either reshape the tooth or to allow room for the veneer to sit on the tooth without causing the teeth to look bulky. An impression is made for a laboratory technician to use to custom fabricate your dental veneer. A temporary veneer is then placed on the teeth while the permanent veneer is being made. This appointment takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
Appointment #2: At your second appointment, the temporary veneers are removed and your permanent veneers are evaluated. If proper fit and color has been achieved, they will then be placed with permanent cement. This visit takes about 30–60 minutes to complete.
** It may be recommended that between 6–8 veneers be placed on the top and 6–8 veneers on the bottom, depending on the results desired. **