Teeth whitening is a process that involves using peroxide to lighten the color of yellowed or graying teeth. There are many kinds of over the counter whitening systems, including toothpastes, mouth rinses, strips, and gels. However, when seeking teeth whitening from Dr. Alvarez, he will provide you with four different professional tooth whitening options.
First, there are disposable bleaching trays. This type of bleaching involves using a professional strength bleaching gel in trays that will mold to your teeth in a matter of minutes. The gel in the disposable trays is much stronger than what you can buy over the counter, ensuring that you will get better, and faster results. These trays are a good economical choice for someone who wants to try tooth bleaching for the first time and is not ready to commit to other treatments. It is also a great choice as a touch up for patients that have already had bleaching done in the past and need a little “pick me up”.
Second, there are custom fit dental bleaching trays. This type of bleaching involves taking impressions of a patient’s mouth, fabricating models, and then making customized bleaching trays from those models. A strong bleaching gel in small syringes is then given to the patient to use in those trays. The advantage of the trays is that there is a true fit, meaning less gel is wasted or will get on the gums. Since the bleaching gel is much stronger than what is over the counter or in the disposable bleaching trays, results are many times seen after one session. The patient is always in control, and bleaching can be done for as many sessions as the patient desires. Typically, the trays are left in for 30-45 minutes at a time. The tray is also kept by the patient, and can be used for many years to come.
Third, there is in office LED power tooth whitening. This is typically what is seen in most dental offices, and what is commonly seen in the media. Many times this is called laser tooth whitening or laser bleaching, but that is incorrect, as it is not. In this method, a patient will be treated in the dental office, with a bleaching session lasting about 60-90 minutes. Different retractors and lip/cheek/gum protectors are used, while a very strong bleaching gel is applied to the teeth. A blue LED light is then applied to the teeth, which acts as a catalyst to speed up the bleaching process. Good results are seen with this type of whitening.
Fourth, and the best option, is true laser tooth whitening. Dr. Alvarez uses the Waterlase Epic X diode laser to do laser tooth bleaching. In this method, the teeth are protected like they are in the other in office tooth whitening procedures, but the treatment time is much shorter. The EPIC™ laser can perform a full-mouth, in-office whitening procedure with an average of 4-6 shades in only 20 minutes of treatment time, faster than any other in-office whitening system. Less treatment time also means less tooth sensitivity. In Dr. Alvarez’s experience and clinical opinion, this is the best option for getting your teeth and smile the whitest and healthiest looking.
What are the side effects of teeth whitening?
While most patients will not experience any side effects when getting their teeth whitened, some patients do report tooth sensitivity. Dr. Alvarez describes tooth whitening as giving your teeth “a facial”. The peroxide gels in no way damage your enamel, in fact they work by forcing oxygen to clean the pores of the enamel and remove any organic stains that are trapped in them. A few days after the bleaching is done, the saliva will build up a protective layer to fill the pores in the enamel and the sensitivity disappears. Dr. Alvarez advises anyone undergoing tooth whitening to brush with an anti-sensitivity toothpaste both before, and after bleaching, and many times that will prevent sensitivity from appearing at all. Sometimes some of the bleaching gel can overflow trays, and if any of the peroxide touches the gums, patients may also experience temporary gum irritation and tenderness.
Luckily, most of these side effects are temporary and should cease a few hours or days after the treatment has ended.
How Long Does a Teeth Whitening Treatment Last?
Unfortunately, like many things, teeth whitening does not last forever, and requires some minor upkeep. Typically, the results from a tooth whitening procedure can last two to three years before patients may want to have a touch-up. However, results vary from person to person, and it is up to the individual to decide when they would like to lighten their smile again. Disposable bleaching kits, or more bleaching gel (if the patient has bleaching trays), can be used to touch up the color of your teeth.
To increase the longevity of tooth whitening results, patients can avoid smoking, and some foods and drinks that may stain the teeth.
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NYCLASERDENTIST IS THE HOME OF MANHATTAN COSMETIC DENTIST EDWARD A ALVAREZ, DDS, PC. DR. ALVAREZ PROVIDES EXCELLENT COSMETIC AND RESTORATIVE DENTISTRY, PORCELAIN VENEERS, DENTAL IMPLANTS, INVISALIGN CLEAR BRACES, LASER DENTISTRY, CEREC ONE VISIT DENTISTRY, BOTOX, LIP FILLERS, JUVEDERM, AND OTHER FACIAL AESTHETIC SERVICES. LOCATED IN THE MURRAY HILL AREA OF MIDTOWN EAST MANHATTAN, DR ALVAREZ SERVES PATIENTS IN NEW YORK CITY INCLUDING ZIP CODES 10001,10003, 10006, 10010, 10011, 10012, 10013, 10014, 10016, 10017, 10065, AND 10075. PATIENTS FROM LONG ISLAND, WESTCHESTER, NEW JERSEY, AND CONNECTICUT ARE WELCOME. CALL US OR EMAIL US TODAY FOR AN APPOINTMENT.