About In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is a whitening procedure that is performed in a dentist’s office. It can make a patient’s teeth up to five to seven shades brighter. Dental offices use different methods of bleaching or whitening to achieve the shade preferred by the patient. Dr. Randy Fong offers professional whitening to patients in Santa Ana, Irvine, Hunington Beach, Newport Beach, and the surrounding areas.
Whitening products can brighten teeth that may have been stained or darkened by food, tobacco, injury or aging.
Advantages Of In-Office Teeth Whitening
Over-the-counter tooth-whitening kits are less expensive than in-office treatments. However, there are advantages that in-office teeth-whitening procedures have over take-home whitening products. They include:
- Professional supervision
- Faster results
- Longer-lasting results
- Fewer sensitivity issues
In-Office Teeth Whitening Procedures
Types of dental-office whitening procedures may include:
Professionally Applied Tooth Whitening Products
These products are applied at a dentist’s office, and have a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide, a whitening agent.
Laser Or Light Treatment
Whitening solution is applied to the teeth and used in combination with a special light or laser. Results can usually be seen after one session.
Custom Mouth Tray
A custom mouthpiece or tray is created by the dentist, and a peroxide-based whitening solution is given to the patient to use at home with the mouthpiece or tray.
In-office teeth whitening comprises a series of one-hour appointments at a dentist’s office. Teeth will be examined and cleaned to make sure there are no cavities, loose fillings, gum problems or other issues that may be exacerbated by the bleaching process. A patient who chooses to use whitening products in combination with at-home treatment may be monitored by the dentist for results.
Whitening procedures are effective but their results are not permanent. Depending on the procedure used, whitening may fade over time. Patients are advised to avoid problem food and drinks that may stain or darken the teeth.
Is The Bioclear System Akin To Tooth Whitening?
Rather than have teeth whitening or the application of porcelain veneers to address an issue such as deep staining across the teeth, we also offer Bioclear. Bioclear is a system that uses clear tooth-shaped forms to guide the delivery and placement of injection-molded composite resin. This resin is applied to the teeth through the Bioclear matrices and it changes the shape and color of the teeth, much as porcelain veneers can do. But to place Bioclear, Dr. Fong doesn’t need to remove any healthy tooth enamel. For patients with serious staining from a reaction to tetracycline as a child, Bioclear is an alternative to the placement of porcelain veneers. Conventional teeth whitening with peroxide-based gels cannot penetrate into the dentin portion of the tooth, which has been stained by the tetracycline. That means the only way to address deep staining is through Bioclear or the application of porcelain veneers.
Teeth Whitening FAQs
Can Teeth Whitening Treatments Damage My Teeth?
Modern teeth whitening began with peroxide trays in the late 1980s. Since those days there is not a case of permanent damage caused by teeth whitening agents. Whitening can make your teeth somewhat more sensitive for a few days. This is because to remove the stains, the peroxide in the whitening gel needs to penetrate the enamel, as the stains did. Over-the-counter whitening treatments done at home or in-office done by lackadaisical providers can cause gum irritation if the whitening gel comes in contact with gum tissue, but this is only a temporary problem.
Bottom line? Teeth whitening at Dr. Fong’s is safe and very effective.
How Long With My Teeth Remain White?
Teeth whitening is not permanent. The same foods and drinks that stained your teeth before will stain them again. But you don’t have to give up red wine or eating raspberries to keep your teeth white. If you opted for at-home whitening, you’ll simply need to purchase a new supply of whitening gel. Then you can perform periodic whitening maintenance at home. If you prefer our in-office treatments, when you feel your teeth are getting a little dingy simply come and see us again.
Home hygiene also makes a difference. Using whitening toothpaste (ADA approved, of course), and brushing for two minutes twice daily is important. Plus, coming in for twice-yearly professional cleanings with Dr. Fong and his team is equally important to keeping your teeth their whitest.
Rule of thumb? Plan on having your teeth professionally whitened with the team at Dr. Fong’s once a year.
What Causes My Teeth To Become Stained?
Just as each of us has a unique fingerprint, every person’s enamel has a slightly different shade. Also, some people have enamel that is more porous, which makes the teeth prone to staining. As we age, our enamel thins and more of the dentin layer beneath begins to show itself. This is why our teeth become more yellow the older we get.
Staining that occurs on the enamel is similar to a stain on a piece of clothing. Teeth whitening can loosen these stains on the enamel. Here are some of the culprits behind the staining of your teeth:
- Food — Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, even dark chocolate have natural pigments in them that can stain the enamel of your teeth.
- Drink — Coffee, tea, red wine, cranberry and other dark juices, even cola soft drinks all can stain your teeth.
- Smoking — Nicotine leaves yellow stains on your teeth.
- Fluorosis — If a child has too much fluoride, it can cause this condition, which stains the teeth. This staining is in the dentin.
- Drugs — In the 60s and 70s tetracycline was a heavily used antibiotic, especially in children. Unfortunately, in many kids it permanently discolored their teeth.
- Genes — The enamel on some people’s teeth is darker than others. Also some people have enamel that is more porous and stains easier.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening?
No. Teeth whitening is deemed an “elective procedure.” As such, it is not covered by insurance. However, you can use your health savings account to pay for your teeth whitening with Dr. Fong.
How Long Does A Teeth Whitening Procedure Take?
At Dr. Fong’s, our in-office whitening treatments take about one hour. They can whiten your teeth from five to seven shades. The custom trays combined with professional gel that we provide for at-home whitening usually involve a one- to two-week treatment timeframe. The patient fills his or her trays at home with our professional-strength peroxide gel, and then they wear the trays for 30 minutes to one hour. The length of time necessary depends on the degree of staining on your teeth.
Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?
Because the whitening agents need to penetrate the tooth enamel to break loose the stains, patients can experience some increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks after their teeth whitening treatment. This quickly resolves and your teeth return to normal in the course of 2-3 days.
How Long Before I See Results From These Teeth Whitening Treatments?
Your results with Dr. Fong’s teeth whitening are immediate. As soon as you leave our Santa Ana offices, or as soon as you finish your home treatments, your teeth will be many shades whiter. You’ll love the way they look.
Do I Need To Have Follow-Up Treatments?
There are two ways to look at this. You could view ongoing whitening treatments as maintenance, warding off new stains and keeping your teeth a bright white. Or you could look at it as a process: your teeth are whitened, but they start to stain again, and eventually, I need to whiten them again. Either way is fine. You can continue maintenance at home. Or, you can let your teeth become stained again and when they get to a certain point you come back in for in-office whitening.