1. What tooth whitening choices are there if I am interested in whitening my teeth?
There are a number of different ways to whiten teeth. There are two main choices. One is professional bleaching which requires visiting a dentist and the second is over the counter whitening i.e. buying it from a retail store or through the internet. Your most suitable method of whitening will be discussed with you at the FREE whitening consultation with your dentist.
2. Is bleaching safe or does it damage the tooth?
To our knowledge, nothing detrimental has been documented and microscopic research shows no changes to the tooth surface with use of 16% bleaching solution. Most research available was initially done with a 16% concentration. There is no literature that we have come across showing any structural changes or irreversible damage to the tooth structure whatsoever.
3. What are the side effects of tooth whitening?
All bleaching gel causes some degree of tooth sensitivity. This is sensitivity to cold/hot fluids and even air can cause discomfort. This is normal and an expected side effect. Some of the brands of bleaching gel contain desensitising agents which claim to alleviate post bleaching sensitivity.
5. How long will it take for teeth to become their whitest?
Results vary. Some teeth whiten dramatically in just a few days, while others can take a few months. The majority of people whiten within 2-3 weeks. The more yellow versus grey colour you have in your teeth, the better the bleaching. Grey enamel similar to that of Tetracycline (antibiotic) staining is more difficult to bleach and can take a few months to achieve a result.
6. How long will the whitening result last? Generally, immediately after bleaching, the colour will fade slightly and then remain stable for approx. 6 months to a year, sometimes longer. It is recommended for maintenance to touch up your smile every 1-2 weeks with 1-2 applications.
7. Will bleaching gel whiten my veneers, caps (crowns) and bonding?
All bleaching agents used to whiten teeth will only work on natural tooth structure. This means that all dental work including but not limited to bonding, veneers, crowns (caps) and bridges will NOT bleach or whiten. All dental work would need to be replaced to match the newly whitened teeth.
8. What is the shelf life and wearing time of bleaching gel?
Generally, the shelf life of most bleaching gel is approx. 2 yrs if refrigerated and 1 yr un-refrigerated. Un-refrigerated bleach should be stored in a dry cool environment. The wearing time is based on the strength of bleaching gel.
9. What do the different bleaching percentages mean?
The percentages (%'s) prefer to the concentration of bleaching agent. It is generally accepted that the higher the % of bleaching agent, the stronger the bleach and the more effective it is at bleaching. There is, however, no objective research to substantiate it. One of the main advantages of the higher % is reduced wearing time.
10. How many bleaching syringes do I need to buy in order to whiten my teeth
It is generally accepted that each treatment requires approx 0.5 ml's (cc's) of bleaching gel per application. The average person with yellow teeth will, therefore, needs about 10-15ml's (cc's). Keep in mind that you may need to do touch-up's at a later date to maintain the whitening. Greyish coloured teeth are more difficult to whiten and will require additional bleaching gel. Keep in mind that only a small droplet needs to be placed on the inside surface of the outer wall of your custom-made whitening tray opposite each of the front 8 teeth. It is not necessary to whiten the teeth towards the back of your mouth as these teeth are not usually visible when you smile.
11. How long should I refrain from coffee and red wine after bleaching?
It is recommended to avoid such during whitening and for 1 week after tooth bleaching. Whitening Ireland, however, recommends not changing your lifestyle. If you feel that your teeth have yellowed over time, it is okay to do touch-up bleaching 1-2 applications every 1-2 weeks as needed.
12. Will teeth whiten to the same degree on everyone?
No, Results vary. Some teeth whiten dramatically in just a few days, while others may take weeks to months to show a difference, if any. The more yellow versus gray color you have in your teeth, the better the bleaching result. Grey enamel similar to that of Tetracycline (antibiotic) staining is more difficult to bleach. Some normal teeth will achieve only minor whitening improvement no matter what product you use. Results cannot be guaranteed.
13. The area of the teeth near the gums is still not as white as the rest of the tooth?
Make sure that the bleach covers the entire surface of the tooth and not just the bottom half. The average tooth will usually have a seamless whitening transition from whiter at the bottom of the tooth (biting surface) to less white towards the gum line. This is normal and an expected result. This is due to thinner enamel in this area allowing more show through of the tooth color. Very few cases have total uniform whiteness. With grayish teeth, the transition is occasionally somewhat more noticeable. One might see a demarcation area / line between the 2 areas. Keep in mind that whitening fades and the tooth will in most instances gradually blend. In some cases that are extremely resistant to bleaching, one might consider bonding or veneers as an alternative treatment.
14. I just started bleaching and it looks uneven with white spots and blotchiness.
Should I continue bleaching or stop? It is also normal that certain areas of the tooth such as areas of decalcification will respond more rapidly to bleaching resulting in blotchiness at first while the rest of the tooth catches up as one continues to bleach. The blotchiness is the first to fade after stopping resulting in a more uniform appearance.
15. How long do you recommend using the bleaching gel?
The choice when to stop bleaching is really a personal one. Stop when you are pleased with the results. Teeth will gradually get whiter and within either a few days or 2-3 weeks in most cases reach a plateau where they will not get any whiter. This is the maximum amount of whitening you will reach and at that point do not bleach any further. It is normal for it to fade slightly and then stabilise after you have discontinued. Whitening Ireland does not recommend bleaching beyond 6 weeks. Most teeth whiten well within 2-3 weeks of use.
16. I have tetracycline (greyish) stained teeth and want to whiten my teeth!
Tetracycline is difficult to whiten. Results vary and results if any are not guaranteed. If you have bleached your teeth with another bleaching agent, the results will most likely not show much improvement with another brand. Bleaching Tetracycline teeth can sometimes cause uneven whitening, horizontal tetracycline lines to become more prominent and even blotchiness. Some cases lighten evenly and customers are pleased with the results. Accepting any bleaching product for use is accepting all the possible risks that could arise from tooth bleaching products. With tetracycline staining, you may want to consult with a dental professional for your whitening needs. Tetracycline stained teeth may need to be bleached for a few months to show results.
17. How long can I try and bleach my tetracycline-stained teeth?
It is acceptable to continue bleaching up to 6 weeks for normal teeth. Some literature suggests that one can even safely whiten for up to 6 months for those who have tetracycline-stained teeth. We feel that an 8 week regime should suffice. If you feel you reach a whitening plateau and your teeth do not get any whiter, that would be a safe termination point.
18. What is the difference between Opalescence F and Opalescence PF?
The F stands for fluoride and the PF is fluoride and potassium nitrate. Both are incorporated into the bleach to combat tooth sensitivity. The PF is thought to be better as it has the potassium nitrate as well as the Fluoride. It will bleach the same but PF is expected to cause less tooth sensitivity.
19. It is very difficult to spread the bleach in my custom whitening trays. Do you have any suggestions for distributing the gel more evenly?
All you need to do is place a continuous line of bleach half way up on the inner side of the outer wall of the whitening tray so that it forms a rope line of bleaching gel which will not run or slump. When you place the tray over the teeth, the teeth will displace the gel to cover the tooth surface (i.e. the teeth will spread the bleach).You can see where the bleach covers the tooth and if it appears deficient in an area, you can merely touch the tray gently on the outside to move the bleach around. The gel consistency should be thick and viscous. By creating the gel with increased viscosity allows better retention of the bleach against the tooth surface and therefore more effective even whitening. If you are refrigerating the product, allow it to sit for a few hours before using it to allow it to be more flowable.
20. How do you prevent the bleach from oozing out between applications?
Withdraw the plunger slightly after use to decrease the hydraulic pressure within the syringe. This will prevent it from oozing out.
21. During bleaching my gums were burning, leaving several areas of my gums white. Is this due to overfilling?
You probably overfilled the trays. All you need is either to place a small droplet in each tooth or a bleach line midway across the inner outer wall of the tray. The gums will return to normal in a few hrs i.e. the whiteness will disappear. Avoid any further bleaching until healed. Avoid hot and spicy foods till then.