Bartlesville Teeth Whitening, how does it work?

The gel used in bleaching is usually composed primarily of carbamide or hydrogen peroxides which break down to form oxygen molecules. In the enamel and dentin of your teeth are tiny pores which these molecules go into, and break up the light blocking stains. More and more light is able to pass through the teeth, making them look lighter, as the staining particles are broken into smaller and smaller particles. Stains that have built up over long periods of time which appear light brown or yellow are the stains which respond best to this treatment. Stains on teeth which are blue-gray to dark brown are the most resistant to bleaching peroxides due to the fact these stains are usually the most deeply embedded in the tooth structure. Stains of this darker type are usually formed due to the patient having medications such as tetracycline in their bloodstream while their teeth were developing, and can take 3 three weeks to six months to be bleached out properly.

Depending on how long the gel in is contact with the teeth and what strength of gel used, typical results can be expected to appear within the first few hours to a day or two. It can take several weeks to several months for complete results to be attained depending on what the stain's source was and hether or not the patient's teeth are naturally resistant to bleaching procedures. Depending on personal habits of the patient, the bleaching procedure can have effects lasting up to 3 years. Once your teeth have reached your desired color you can usually maintain that color for as long as you like by periodically using your trays once or twice.

What will the initial consultation with my dentist be like?

When you first visit your dentist, you should discuss what your expectations for the whitening procedure are. The different options currently available to you should be explained by your dentist, as well as how the procedures are performed and what their limitations are.

Your dental appointment will begin with a complete medical history as well as an exam. Your dentist may also take pictures to record your progress and make available to you before and after pictures so you can evaluate your results if you choose to proceed with treatment. The presence of poor oral hygiene or large cavities, which may require x-rays to be diagnosed, need to dealt with before any cosmetic procedures such as whitening can be performed. You should take your consultation as an opportunity to ask questions that you may have about treatments you're considering.

How is teeth whitening performed?

When choosing which procedure to go ahead with, you have a essentially three options to pick from. You can do the self-administered treatment which involves a take-home kit, or two in-office options.

Teeth whitening in-office options:

The first option we will discuss is in-office power or laser bleaching. This process is started by the dental staff applying a protective layer of material which only covers your gums to prevent the bleaching injuring them. Then a special hydrogen peroxide containing bleaching solution is applied to the teeth and a laser or high intensity light aimed the gel on the teeth to activate it. This causes the release of oxygen molecules from the gel. Laser and power bleaching both take around one hour to complete.

Teeth whitening at home:

Bleaching at home is performed under indirect observation of dentist. At your initial appointment, your dentist takes impressions of your teeth and from these he or she has bleach trays fabricated which should almost perfectly fit your teeth. These trays allow the patient to apply the bleaching gel to their teeth while avoiding it spreading to the soft tissues in the mouth such as the gums, cheeks, tongue and inner lips as they are very sensitive to the bleaching solution.

How much discomfort the patient experiences can vary from individual to individual and also relates to the method used. The majority of patients experience slight if any discomfort which usually goes away within 24 hours. If the discomfort is too much for the patient they may use anti-inflammatory drugs. In the instance that the discomfort lasts for more than 2 days the patients should call his or her dentist for advice. Another remedy for tooth sensitivity due to bleaching is fluoride applications on your teeth. You may ask your dentist for fluoride gels which you either apply to your teeth or put inside your trays and wear for about an hour. Check with your dental office for the best options depending on your particular needs.

You should talk with your dentist about your pain tolerance, budget and expectations in order to assist him or her in deciding what bleaching method or combination of methods would be best for you.

What should be expectations after the teeth whitening treatment?

Although the results of teeth whitening can vary from person to person, most patients are very satisfied with their results. Foods such as red wine and tobacco which can stain teeth rapidly should be avoided for about a week. Maintaining good oral hygiene through flossing and brushing can help stop the loss of the results you have achieved through whitening. On average, tooth bleaching last about 1-2 years. However, if you don't use tobacco on a regular basis and don't eat too many of the foods proven to stain teeth, your bleaching results may last longer.

Ideal candidates for bleaching:

The best candidates for tooth bleaching are in general:

  • Patients old enough to understand how the procedure works
  • Patients with marked and stained teeth
  • Those who are knowledgeable about the therapy
  • Those who desire to improve there appearance
  • People with expectations that are realistic

This is only part of the criteria that your dentist will use when determining if this treatment is proper for you. Patients interested in tooth bleaching should have a consultation with a dentist before proceeding with treatment.

This article was written by Dr. Hart of Ron Hart DDS. Dr. Hart is an experienced cosmetic dentist who provides free consultations for any patients with questions or concerns about any type of aesthetic dental procedure. If you would like a free consultation with Dr. Hart please call Ron Hart DDS at (918)336-3344.