Teeth Whitening, also known as Tooth Bleaching/Teeth Bleaching, or Dental Bleaching, 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 Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Edward A Alvarez in our Manhattan, New York City office, he will provide you with four different ways of getting your teeth white and bright.
While most patients will not experience any side effects when teeth whitening, some patients do report some mild tooth sensitivity. Dr. Alvarez describes tooth whitening as "Giving your teeth a facial". The peroxide gels in no way damage your enamel, and in fact work by forcing oxygen to clean the pores of the enamel and remove any organic stains that are trapped in those pores. A few days after the dental 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 teeth bleaching. Many times, that will prevent sensitivity from appearing at all. Sometimes bleaching gel can get on the gums, particularly if teeth whitening is done using store bought bleaching trays, or by untrained non dental personnel such as at a tanning salon or at the mall, the gel can temporarily burn the gums causing irritation and tenderness.
Luckily, most side effects of teeth whitening are temporary and should cease a few hours or days after the treatment has ended.
Unfortunately, like many things, teeth whitening does not last forever, and requires some minor upkeep. Typically, the results form a tooth whitening procedure can last two to three years before patients may want to have a touch up. Some patients may want to do a touch up dental bleaching sooner, as 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 additional bleaching gel (if the patient has bleaching trays) can be used to touch up the color of your teeth at a very inexpensive cost after teeth bleaching.
To increase the longevity of tooth whitening results, patients can avoid smoking, and certain foods and drinks that may stain teeth. A routine cleaning at our Manhattan office is always recommended as well.
The best option for Teeth Whitening, also known as Dental Bleaching, is True Laser Tooth Whitening. Dr. Alvarez uses the Waterlase Epic X Diode Dental Laser at our Manhattan office to do true Laser Teeth Bleaching. Blue lights are not lasers, but the tooth whitening we do in our office is with an actual laser, not an imitation.
The advantages of true Laser Teeth Whitening are:
In Dr. Alvarez's opinion, this is the best option for getting your teeth and smile the whitest and healthiest looking, with least side effects and fastest treatment results.
LED Blue Light in office teeth bleaching is what is typically seen in most dental offices, and is what is commonly seen in the media. This is many times classed Laser Tooth Whitening or Laser Dental Bleaching , but that is in correct, as it is not. In this method, a patient will be treated in the dental office with a teeth whitening 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 high powered blue LED light is then applied to the teeth, which acts as a catalyst to drive the bleaching reaction and tooth whitening. Very good results can be seen with this type of whitening.
Custom fit dental bleaching trays involves taking impressions, fabricating models, and then making customized bleaching trays. Teeth bleaching gels of different strengths can then be used to accomplish teeth whitening. The gels, which come in syringes, are given to the patient to use in the trays. Some gels may only stay in the tray for half an hour at a time, while others may be worn overnight.
The advantage of bleaching trays is that there is a true fit, meaning less gel is wasted or will get on the gums. Since the gels are much stronger that what is available over the counter, results are many times seen after one session, but optimal results usually take 10-14 days. The patient is always in control, and bleaching can be done for as many sessions as the patient desires. The trays are kept by the patient, and last for years. In the future, you can always obtain more gel from our Manhattan dental office to do touch ups as you like.
Disposable bleaching trays are the lowest cost option there is for teeth whitening. 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 anything avilalbe 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 teeth 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 done dental whitening in the past and need a little "pick me up" or touch up.
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