Tooth Whitening (Bleaching)

Bleaching is a way to lighten teeth quickly and inexpensively without bonding plastic or porcelain material to the tooth or removing tooth structure.

Here are some common questions about Tooth Whitening:

How safe is it?

The ingredient used in bleaching (carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) have been used in the mouth and throat for many years for its antiseptic properties. It has been useful in treating throat infections and shown to fight oral viruses in newborns and reduce plaque and gum inflammations.

How does it work?

There are two common home bleaching systems:

Whitestrips are available only from your dentist, and are stronger than the kits you can buy over the counter. With these kits, you simply place a strip over your teeth for approximately 30 minutes twice per day for three weeks or less until you reach your desired shade.

Custom trays can be made to the shape of your teeth. A small amount of bleaching solution is placed in the “tooth” of the tray, and you also wear them for approximately 30 minutes a day. In our office we have different strength solutions available. Depending on the kit, time to reach your desired shade may range from three days to three weeks.

Another option is to have in-office whitening in conjunction with custom trays. Our in-office system is called Zoom2 Advanced Whitening. The procedure takes about 2 hours to complete, and you’ll walk out of the office 8-10 shades whiter. You can then use the custom trays as needed to maintain your whitening goal. More information on Zoom2 Advanced Whitening is available on our website under Advanced Technology.

How long will it last?

That depends on what caused the staining in the first place. Stains caused by coffee, tea, and tobacco are usually the easiest to treat with results lasting up to one year. If antibiotic staining is the cause you may need to be a little more aggressive with your bleaching. It is best to discuss this with Dr. Arrighi.

What are the side effects?

Some patients report hypersensitivity in their teeth or gum irritation. These conditions are usually caused by wearing the solution too long and require the patient to slow down the process a bit, taking a little longer to reach their whitening goal.

Why choose one treatment over the other?

For some people, whitening strips are effective in helping them achieve their desired shade. However, because the strips are not a perfect fit to your teeth, a portion of the active agent may wash away, reducing its effectiveness. Custom trays help to limit gum irritation that is often a side effect of whitening because the whitening agent is placed directly into a mold that has been specially fitted to your teeth. Zoom 2 tooth whitening provides immediate results, and eliminates days/weeks of using custom trays.