A tooth whitening treatment works by applying a hydrogen peroxide-based gel to your teeth, which causes an oxidation reaction, releasing molecules that can penetrate deep into your tooth enamel and lift the stains that are discoloring your teeth. We can use hydrogen peroxide to remove deep-seated stains from your teeth in two ways. The first is in an in-office treatment in which we protect your lips and gums before painting your teeth with hydrogen peroxide whitening gel. The gel is commonly “activated” with a special laser, which simply speeds up the whitening process and allows the whitening gel to penetrate your teeth more effectively. For maximum effect, hydrogen peroxide whitening gel may be applied and wiped off several times during an in-office whitening treatment. Your teeth will be several shades lighter by the end of the treatment.
Another option is a custom-made home whitening kit containing whitening trays fabricated by your dentist to fit precisely over your teeth. These whitening trays are comfortable to wear and ensure the whitening gel will not leak out during your treatments. Your dentist will recommend carbamide peroxide whitening gel, a very safe form of hydrogen peroxide ideal for at-home use. They will demonstrate how to fill the trays and insert them into the mouth, and you can wear these trays for an hour or two each day or overnight, depending on the strength of the whitening gel used. You should start seeing results within a few days, but the treatment should take about two weeks to complete.
Sometimes patients prefer this solution because it allows them greater control over the whitening process and can be especially beneficial for sensitive teeth because we can prescribe a lower strength whitening gel. Also, if there are any sensitivity issues, simply discontinue treatment for a day or two until the sensitivity disappears. Another advantage of a custom whitening kit is that you can reuse the whitening trays as long as your teeth do not change shape, for example, if you get a new crown or bridge. Although it is an excellent treatment, teeth whitening is not permanent, and you will need to top up the results at some point.