Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching can be defined as the whitening or lightening of a single tooth or multiple teeth through the application of chemical agents. Teeth whitening is the most commonly requested cosmetic dentistry procedure, and is one of the most straightforward ways to give you a whiter and brighter smile. Teeth bleaching can be achieved by your dentist or dental hygienist. When full arch bleaching is requested, the dentist or dental hygienist can offer two choices: take-home or in-office.


Take home bleaching is more common, and usually more affordable. In this case, the dentist will take impressions (molds) of each arch, pour stone models of the teeth, and make custom trays for the patient to wear. These custom trays are made from a clear, soft material, and they serve to hold the bleaching gel on the teeth. This optimizes treatment by keeping the bleaching material on the teeth and away from the gums, thus reducing irritation.

In-office bleaching is usually more expensive than the take-home alternatives. However, advantages to using this technique include speed, convenience, and predictability. In some instances, patients can see a dramatic change in about an hour. This is compared to similar changes that could take up to two weeks using the take-home technique. This speed of treatment also leads to more predictable results. Each step of the bleaching process is monitored and controlled by the dental professional. There are no compliance issues (such as not wearing the trays every night, not smoking, or not drinking red wine during the bleaching process), which could lead to less than optimal results.

In order to obtain long lasting results both techniques, in-office and take-home, should be associated.

Tray whitening

One method for whitening teeth involves the use of a “tray.” After an impression is made a study model is constructed. The model is painted with a special material that increases the thickness of the tooth area. When the tray is prepared, a small pocket is produced. The whitening solution occupies this pocket ensuring that it only comes into contact with the required surfaces and that no damage is done to the soft gums.

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Barrier whitening

Before applying tooth whitening gel the gums need to be protected. After a protective barrier is applied and hardened using a bright light, the whitening gel is applied. After a prescribed amount of time, the gel is washed away and the barrier removed, leaving bright, white teeth.

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