Whitening or Bleaching is for patients who want a brighter smile. This is done to decrease the discoloration and staining to give teeth a whiter appearance.
How white are your teeth going to get? That is difficult to answer because there are many factors that influence this and each person is different. A difference of just a couple shades will make a huge difference in anyone’s smile.
Not all of our teeth are the same color. Canine teeth are usually 1-2 shades darker than the rest of our teeth, and our front teeth are usually the whitest. When we use bleach to whiten your teeth, our goal is to make your teeth their optimum brightness while still looking natural.
Tray Bleaching: Impressions are made of your teeth and small trays are custom fitted to wear over your teeth. A small amount of bleaching gel is placed in the tray and worn for a period of time which depends on the strength of the gel selected. It usually takes 1-2 weeks to reach the desired level of whitening with this method.
Laser or Power Bleaching: This is done in the dental office. A “paint on” dam is placed around your gum tissues to protect them first. A gel is then placed on your teeth and a laser light is used to activate the gel. This procedure takes about an hour.
What are the Side Effects? The most common complaint is that your teeth become sensitive to hot or cold. This is only temporary however and we recommend to stop bleaching for a few days until symptoms subside before bleaching again.
How Long will My Teeth Stay White? This varies from person to person. As time passes by teeth do tend to darken. You may decide to do a touch up treatment which is usually only a night or two. What we eat or drink as well as smoking influence the color of our teeth so these factors affect how long the treatments last.
Some people have broken or chipped teeth or have teeth that can’t be whitened with bleaching. In these cases, veneers can be placed. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain specially shaped that are glued over the front of your teeth.
At the first appointment, a very small amount of tooth is removed and an impression is made and sent to a dental lab. At the second appointment, the veneer is tried in to make sure the color and fit of the veneer is correct. The tooth is then cleaned with chemicals to ensure a strong bond between the veneer and tooth. A small of amount of glue is then placed on the veneer and then the veneer is put on the tooth and it is hardened or cured on with special light.
Veneers are very strong and durable and will brighten dark teeth without the worry of them changing color.
When the structure of a tooth is no longer strong enough by itself, a crown is placed to cover all the surfaces of the tooth to protect it.
The first appointment is to prepare the tooth for a crown. The tooth is reduced to make room for the dental lab to make a crown that is natural looking. An impression is made and a color selected. A temporary crown is placed temporarily for the two weeks it takes to make the actual crown.
At the second appointment, the crown is placed to make sure the bite, color and fit are correct. The crown is then cemented.
Natural Tooth-Colored Fillings
Many of us have had amalgam (silver) fillings done. These are very long lasting restorations but are not cosmetically pleasing.
Composite resin fillings are an alternative to metal fillings. They are tooth colored to match the natural color of our teeth.
After decay or an old silver filling is removed the composite is placed in small layers and hardened with a special bright light.
Composites are very strong, durable and make for a natural looking smile.
Bonding refers to adding composite filling to a tooth to restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps and reshape or recolor your smile.
The materials used in tooth bonding today are color matched so they appear life like and natural. This procedure can give you the confidence to be proud of your smile.