Whitening Techniques (Dr. Boulden)

Teeth whitening is by far the most popular cosmetic dental procedure. Dental Whitening procedures fit within almost any budget and the results are quick. There is a difference between teeth whitening and teeth bleaching. Whitening means to brighten your teeth by polishing away stains caused by foods and beverages (berries, coffee, wine, tea, etc). This stain removal whitens teeth back to their naturally white stage. Bleaching refers to lightening a tooth from the inside-out using peroxide. Bleaching brightens the inside (dentin) of the tooth, thereby making the whole natural tooth whiter.

? Who is a good candidate for teeth whitening or bleaching?

Almost everyone is a candidate for teeth whitening or teeth bleaching. However, some dark teeth are much more resistant to whitening procedures. Teeth that are discolored with dark gray or reddish shades are the most resistant to teeth whitening; an example of this type of dark shade appears in teeth affected by tetracycline. Still, even these dark teeth will whiten to some degree with long-term care. Depending on the results you desire, whitening may be an option for dark (gray/red) teeth. Otherwise, porcelain veneers are an excellent option, allowing you to choose how white your smile will be.
Teeth Whitening

? What is the material used for teeth bleaching?

Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are the agents used in professional bleaching procedures. The peroxide enters the teeth and whitens the inside layers (dentin) of the teeth.

? What types of professional whitening systems are the best? Which ones are offered by Atlanta Dental Spa?

At Atlanta Dental Spa, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry — this includes whitening technology. We offer a variety of systems, including custom trays and in-office whitening.

In-Office Whitening: “Boost”

Opalescence Boost (TM) uses a high-concentration hydrogen peroxide gel that absorbs quickly and thoroughly into the teeth, whitening teeth from the inside-out. For several years, Boost has been proven to be the most effective in-office dental whitening procedure available. It far surpasses Zoom! in whitening studies and competitions of all kinds, and it is what we recommend at Atlanta Dental Spa. At your whitening appointment, we'll place protective barriers and coatings on your lips, cheeks, and gums so that the strong peroxide only contacts your teeth. Your job is to sit back, relax with noise-cancelling headphones and your choice of TV programming, and enjoy. After two or three cycles of the peroxide gel, your teeth will get shades whiter in just one hour. It takes an average of 3 in-office dental whitening procedures to get your teeth to the whitest shade your teeth can attain. It does not work better than the trays or strips, it just works faster. This system is great for people who prefer to not wear trays or strips for an hour every day. We do it for you in our spa-like office, so you don’t have to do the work at home! For people with sensitive teeth, this process may exacerbate sensitivity for a few days after the procedure. We  have medication you can use after your in-office dental whitening procedure in order to reduce  sensitivity. For patients with extremely sensitive teeth, lower-strength strips or trays might be a better option. If you don’t want to mess with the trays, and you prefer instant results, Boost might be the perfect teeth-whitening solution for you.

Custom Take-Home Trays

Whitening with custom trays is the system that has been most widely used over time. It is considered the gold standard for teeth whitening. We make models of your teeth and fabricate a clear plastic tray that fits perfectly. You are given syringes of whitening gel which goes in your trays. Then you wear your trays with the gel in them for an hour each day or — if you are able — at night while you sleep. The peroxide gel enters your teeth and, though the same process as other professional whitening systems, whitens your teeth from the inside-out. One of the benefits of having these trays is that when you run out of gel, you only need to purchase more gel syringes, not a whole new system. So, it’s great for touch-ups (say after a month of heavy Starbucks).

? Are over-the-counter products like Crest White Strips effective?

Crest Whitestrips do work, but not as well as the professional systems we provide at Atlanta Dental Spa. Crest Whitestrips use a lower concentration peroxide gel in pre-formed strips that you stick to your teeth. It’s like a prescription: you can buy an over-the-counter aspirin for your headache and it will help the pain, however your doctor can prescribe a much stronger pain killer.

? How long do whitening results last?

The best answer to this question is: it depends. Some people smoke. Some people drink coffee, tea, or red wine every day. Some people drink only an occasional coffee drink. These foods, beverages, and habits will stain your teeth. A good rule of thumb is that if it will stain a white shirt, it will stain your teeth. So, if you never do things that stain your teeth, then your whitening results will last a long time. If you do, the results will more quickly fade over time. The bright side (pun intended!) is that after a teeth whitening procedure, the insides of your teeth will not likely ever return to the dark shade where they began. We also offer inexpensive touch-ups and whitening polishes that will quickly and easily get your teeth back to their whitest shade.

? How long will it take to whiten my teeth?

The answer depends on which system you are using, how dark your teeth are to start with, and how white you want your teeth to be. If you are using an at-home system, the typical systems require you to whiten every day for 10 days to 2 weeks. If your teeth are very dark to begin with, it may take several weeks of wearing trays while you sleep. Finally, if you are using an in-office system, it takes on average 3 procedures to reach maximum brightness. Sometimes, patients will use the in-office dental whitening procedure as a jump-start to an at-home teeth whitening procedure in order to maximize the results.

? How white will my teeth get?

You can expect that with an Atlanta Dental Spa professional whitening system your teeth will get on average 3 to 5 shades whiter. If your teeth are already very bright to start with, they may only get a couple of shades lighter as there is a limit to how white natural teeth can get. Until you reach this this plateau, the more you whiten, the whiter your teeth will get. For people who want their teeth whiter than nature will allow, or people who want the maximum results immediately, porcelain veneers or no-prep veneers are an excellent treatment option. Porcelain veneers are not limited to nature's plateaus, and they give you the freedom to choose any shade you desire for your smile.