Whitening | Delmarva Dental Services


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Dental Office Whitening

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Whitening teeth in the dental office has been performed for more than 30 years. It usually takes about an hour. A solution or gel of 30 to 40% hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth, several times. There are different systems available. Some use a laser, some a special light, and some just the solution itself. They are equally effective. Yellow and brown stained teeth, due to age, are easiest to lighten. Fillings, crowns (caps), and fake teeth will not lighten. Office whitening gives faster initial results than home tray whitening, however, it is not as effective as home tray whitening. Much of the office whitening is due to dehydration of the teeth. This is when moisture is prevented from touching the teeth, no saliva or water. During the office whitening technique the patient‘s mouth is open and the teeth are kept dry. If no bleaching solution were applied to the teeth, the teeth would appear lighter simply because of this. Teeth whitened by office whitening turn darker after two weeks and go back to their original shade 41% of the time after one year. Therefore, office whitening and home whitening should be combined. Here at Delmarva Dental Services we offer a money saving combination of the two.The first visit involves an evaluation of the teeth to be whitened, determination of shade, and selection of the best method for your individual needs. After this an appointment can be scheduled for the process.Home Tray Whitening Home tray whitening has been performed for millions of people. We have been providing this procedure at Delmarva Dental Services since 1989. The technique involves making an impression of the teeth and pouring a stone model. From this model a form fitting custom tray is made. A whitening gel is placed in the tray consisting of 10 to 22% carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The tray is worn for several hours during the day or overnight. The higher the percentage of gel and the longer the tray is worn the better the results. Temporary cold sensitivity or sore gums can result occasionally. Reducing the length of time the tray is worn will alleviate this. Yellow and brown stained teeth due to age, are the easiest to whiten. Fillings, crowns (caps) and fake teeth will not lighten and may have to be redone to match the lighter surrounding teeth. Improvement is usually seen immediately and best results after about 7 days. The teeth remain lighter for several years but will slowly darken, requiring some touching up to maintain your selected shade.Store Whiteners The whitening products available in the dental care section of pharmacies, grocery stores and discount stores fall into the following categories: toothpastes, rinses, gels and adhesive strips. Products that claim whitening are considered cosmetics and are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration. Therefore, their claims are not subject to verification of effectiveness. All toothpastes can be considered whitening because the act of brushing will remove stains. In order for a product to be truly effective in whitening, it must contain oxygenating agents such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These react with the pigments in the tooth. The longer they remain in contact with the tooth the better it whitens. Gels work better than liquids and toothpastes. Adhesive strips work better than gels unless the gels can be placed in a tray that adapts extremely well to the teeth. “Store bought” trays do not fit well. The shelf life of the oxygenating agents is short which means they could lose their effectiveness before opening. Always check the manufacture and expiration dates. This fact, together with the lack of contact time, is the reason toothpastes are poor whiteners. Yellow and brown stained teeth, due to age, will lighten the best. There are some that just won’t respond to whitening. Also, fillings and crowns (caps) do not lighten and may appear darker after teeth have been lightened. Whitened teeth may occasionally need to be touched up to maintain the selected shade.Whitestrips Whitestrips are plastic adhesive strips containing hydrogen peroxide or sodium hydroxide. Several companies presently sell whitestrips in retail stores. All products work well. As with all forms of whitening: office, home tray or whitestrips the higher the percentage of the active ingredient the more effective. The chemistry of whitening has not changed for 35 years, only the methods of application. The technique is easy. Just open the packaged strip, affix it as closely as possible to your teeth and wear for at least 30 minutes. If possible, you should brush first. The disadvantage of whitestrips over home tray whitening is when teeth are not straight the strips do not contact all of the teeth uniformly. This will cause uneven whitening. The advantage to whitestrips over home tray is that it is less costly. As with all whitening it does not lighten crowns, porcelain veneers or fillings.