Teeth Whitening

Everybody wants whiter teeth! Patients are surprised to learn that all bleaching systems rely on the same active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide. Over the counter systems provide the lower concentrations of peroxide, the results therefore take longer, with a low risk of sensitivity and gingival gum irritation.

We can provide a professional kit that includes custom trays to hold your bleach next to your teeth, they appear similar to a mouthguard. The bleach has a higher percentage than over the counter, making for faster results, but with higher risk of sensitivity and gingival irritation. Care must be taken, along with sensitivity toothpastes.

Finally, a bleaching light may be added with hydrogen peroxide to enhance whitening quickly. This makes it ideal for the special event, eg. a wedding, prom, graduation photos, etc. This treatment may be expensive, temporary and also leave sensitive teeth.

Please read this excerpt from the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) Vol. 137, No. 11, of an article by Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD, founder of CR Foundation, on bleaching lights. (CR Foundation provides continuing education, and publishes Clinicians Report, which evaluates dental products and reports the results to the dental community much as Consumer Reports does.)

"BLEACHING LIGHT: There has been an enormous amount of hype about using lights to enhance tooth bleaching when using different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Continued clinical observation of this bleaching concept has shown that at the initial bleaching appointment, the teeth bleached with hydrogen peroxide and a light appear to be somewhat lighter than teeth on which only hydrogen peroxide was used. The slight difference in tooth color observed as a result of bleaching with lights and hydrogen peroxide versus bleaching with hydrogen peroxide alone appears to be temporary and caused by the light's dehydration and heating of the teeth. After a few days to weeks, there appears to be no significant shade difference between teeth bleached with lights and those bleached without lights.

Although research varies as to the effectiveness of bleaching using lights, many of the lights used for in-office bleaching appear to be primarily a psychological factor for the patient.

All of us await a truly effective, fast and nonsensitizing method of whitening teeth. Until that appears, at-home bleaching still is the most popular and predictable method used by most dentists."

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Northern Plains Dental


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