Teeth whitening is the process of lightening or bleaching the teeth using dental-grade chemical products that contain hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide, at high concentrations, breaks down intrinsic and extrinsic stains through oxidation. This improves the cosmetic appearance of your teeth.
Volatile oxygen molecules in the whitening agent react with staining molecules and break apart the bonds that hold them together. As a result, your teeth are made whiter and brighter without damaging your teeth. At our office, we take great precautions to protect your soft tissues and only use FDA and ADA-approved materials. Contact us at SOLA Dental to schedule a consultation in Lafayette.
An in-office whitening session only takes 60 to 90 minutes.
Dr. Deniakos will call you in for a consultation to assess the shade of your teeth and discuss your aesthetic goals. An oral exam will be performed to ensure you don’t have any active oral health problems.
Based on the extent of discoloration you have and how much you want to lighten the shade of your teeth, Dr. Deniakos will formulate a treatment plan based on your goals and specific needs.
To protect your teeth, we apply a gel to your gums and hold your mouth open with a cheek retractor. Take-home trays are fabricated based on impressions of your teeth so they don’t run into your gums.
The dentist will apply the whitening product directly to your teeth and activate it with UV light. If you’re whitening teeth from home, you will apply the gel to your trays and wear them at your convenience.
After whitening your teeth, Dr. Deniakos will give you advice on how to maintain your whitened smile.
An at-home whitening treatment is performed at home but we still require a dental appointment so that impressions can be taken of your teeth. These serve as a mold for your custom whitening trays.
This will ensure the whitening product is concentrated on your teeth and doesn’t come into contact with your gums, unlike drugstore whitening products, which are one-size-fits-all. The concentration of peroxide is much higher than an over-the-counter product but is lower than what is used in an in-office treatment.
This will still produce dramatic results, it will just take a little longer to achieve them. Most patients need to wear their trays every day for 2 weeks. The lower concentration is also beneficial for patients with sensitive teeth.
An in-office whitening treatment is the most instant and effective way to whiten your teeth, especially if you have a special event coming up. After protecting your soft tissues and exposing your teeth, we will apply the whitening product to each tooth.
The whitening product is light-activated which means that the UV light speeds up the chemical reaction that whitens your teeth. As a result, your teeth can lighten up to 10 shades in just one hour-long session. For severe discoloration, you may need multiple treatments but one session is suitable for most people with minor to moderate stains and discoloration.
Take-home whitening can reduce tooth sensitivity.
Yes, tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening, but it is more common with in-office whitening because of the higher peroxide concentration. If you have very sensitive teeth, we recommend that you try take-home whitening first.
However, you can alleviate tooth sensitivity with desensitizing gel, anti-inflammatory pain medication, toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and by avoiding foods at extreme temperatures. The sensitivity is only temporary and will go away once your teeth have remineralized within a couple of days.
There’s no definitive timeline for how long a teeth whitening treatment will last because this is largely dependent on your oral hygiene and lifestyle which can vary from person to person.
If you avoid staining foods and drinks, don’t smoke, attend regular dental cleanings every 6 months, and regularly brush and floss your teeth, you can expect your teeth to remain white for up to 3 years. However, if you don’t pay any mind to the stains you are introducing to your teeth, it may only last for 6 months.
Dental cleanings will remove surface stains to maintain your whitened smile.