In spite of what advertisers and “experts” would have you believe, all bleaching products utilize the same active agent – peroxide. The difference between products is the concentration of peroxide. Over the counter products (Crest White Strips) are limited by law to a lesser concentration than the products used under a dentist’s supervision.
When used as directed, bleaching is safe and not harmful to enamel. Some people can experience discomfort if there is dentin (the softer, yellow, “live” part of your tooth) exposed at the gumline. These areas need to be covered during bleaching to prevent sensitivity.
There are three (3) general approaches to tooth bleaching:
- Over the Counter Products - these are inexpensive and can be quite effective when used properly.
- Office Bleaching – we use the Iveri Whitening System, which utilizes a soft, flexible mouthpiece loaded with bleaching gel. It takes 15 minutes, during which time a powerful light is focused on the upper and lower teeth. This costs $100 and can generally be done at the time of a routine cleaning appointment.
- The last bleaching option involves thin, flexible upper and lower mouthpieces that are used at home. This involves an upper and lower impression and lab fabrication of the mouthpieces from stone models. We use Iveri bleaching gel that is given to patients along with the mouthpieces. This costs $350 and is the most effective type of bleaching. Also, the mouthpieces can be retained by patients and reused from time to time. We charge $25 for a bleaching gel refill.
Bleaching is NOT permanent. Teeth will return to their original shade over time and require re-treatment periodically. If you are interested in bleaching, please call for a cleaning and exam and we will be happy to consult with you regarding bleaching.