Bleaching

Teeth Whitening Augusta, GA

Having a beautiful smile that you are proud of may be even easier than you think. By now, most people know basically what whitening is. To simplify, we will discuss the three main types of whitening.

Over-The-Counter Whitening Products

Crest White-Strips are probably the most common over-the-counter teeth whitening product. All bleaching products, including over-the-counter, work by using a chemical that releases hydrogen peroxide. The chemical in the bleaching gel may not be pure hydrogen peroxide, but it releases hydrogen peroxide. The main difference in the three categories of bleaching techniques is the concentration of hydroxide peroxide being released. In the case of over-the-counter products, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide being released is a lower concentration than the other two categories of bleach, which are both initiated in the dental office.

Over-the-counter products do whiten teeth, but they would have to be used over a longer period of time and the end result would probably not be as white as with the other categories. However, if the patient only wants a slight shade change and is willing to be patient, over-the-counter products may do the job just fine.

Tray Whitening

Tray bleaching is the bleaching we usually recommend at West Augusta Dental Associates. Tray bleaching is not as messy as over-the-counter products because the bleaching solution itself is kept in contact with the teeth with a clear plastic tray. Impressions are made of your teeth and models are made from the impressions. We have our own laboratory for complex crown and bridge procedures, so of course we can make the bleaching trays very quickly in our office, many times within two hours.

We dispense the whitening solution to you when you pick up the trays. We will show you how to use the trays and answer any questions you have.

Depending on the concentration of the gel we dispense to you, we may recommend that you bleach in the trays before you go to bed and just leave the trays in all night. Some patients would rather put the trays in their mouth an hour or so before they go to bed, then remove the trays before going to bed. Some gel concentrations should be left in the mouth for shorter periods of time. We will discuss this with you when we dispense the gel.

The reason that the bleaching gel dentists dispense is not sold over the counter is that some supervision is required. The bleaching solution is perfectly safe, but it can make teeth sensitive and some patients report that the bleaching gel irritates their gums. If this happens, we recommend that patients either leave the trays in for less time or use the trays every other night rather than every night.

How long will it take to whiten my teeth?

That is a question we always get and is a difficult question to answer. We usually tell patients that after 2 or 3 weeks of bleaching they will usually see a significant lightening of their teeth. However, the actual result a patient gets from bleaching varies tremendously from patient to patient. Some peoples teeth simply bleach better than others. Yellow shaded or brown shaded teeth generally bleach better than gray shaded teeth. We usually tell patients that they are the judge as to how their teeth look. Patients should be careful not to over bleach their teeth.

Bleaching does not add white color to teeth, bleaching takes away color. Some teeth start to get more clear (dentist call this translucent) with long term bleaching. The problem with teeth becoming more translucent is that the teeth pick up the color of the back of the mouth which is dark, and the teeth actually start to look bluish or blue-gray. For that reason, we tell patients to decide every day how their teeth look. When they are light enough, stop bleaching.

When the whitening trays are removed by the patient the teeth will appear almost frosty. This is because the teeth become dehydrated because the hydrogen peroxide takes water out of the teeth. In a few hours the teeth will absorb water from the saliva and re-hydrate. The teeth will not have the frosty appearance an hour or two after tray removal, but they are actually getting lighter gradually. Some patients become confused by this and think the frosty appearance is their bleaching target. These patients keep coming back and buying more bleaching gel from us because they are trying to maintain that frosty appearance. Long term bleaching to maintain this frosty appearance is not recommended.

The bleaching kit we dispense with the trays is enough to last 3-4 weeks of bleaching depending on how much gel the patient places in the tray each night. Some teeth genuinely need more bleaching than this to get a result the patient is pleased with.

Will my teeth stay white?

Amazingly, the answer is basically yes. We tell patients to keep any left over bleaching gel in the back of their refrigerator so it will stay fresh. In a year or two the teeth may darken just slightly, but usually 2-5 nights of bleaching will get the teeth back to the bleached shade.

Call our office at Augusta Office Phone Number 706-738-8070 and ask our fee for the whitening trays and whitening gel kit. Our fee has been less than $200.00 for several years for the trays, the gel, and the instructions. By the time you call, the fee may be slightly higher, depending on how much we pay for the gel and how often we update the text in this web site, but the fee will be very reasonable. We keep our fee reasonable so that many of our patients can afford this worthwhile procedure. We will probably not suggest that you whiten your teeth when you come in for regular cleaning because we feel that this is your decision, but do not hesitate to ask about whitening. Most of the dentists and staff in our practice have bleached our own teeth. It is safe and it works.