Whitening Systems

1. Crest Whitening Strips may work okay for you, but they are relatively weak, do not whiten all of your teeth, and may leave a line where the strip doesn’t cover the entire tooth.

2. The 1 hour in-office systems marketed have a greater chance of success on those people in the range of 18-25 years old. The teeth are more amenable to accept the whitening gel. Just after the treatment, everyone’s teeth are whiter. Not just due to the whitening agent, but mostly due to the dehydration from having your mouth open.   Downside is most patients have sensitivity for up to 48 hours after completing in office whitening.

3. A basic whitening system involves taking a mold of your teeth, then pouring plaster into the mold. This plaster model of your teeth will be used to form a soft plastic horseshoe-shaped covering over your teeth, which is the whitening tray. You place a small amount of whitening gel into the tray, place the tray onto your teeth every day for 30 minutes to an hour for 7-14 days, and VOILA, whiter teeth. Here’s the “but”:  if your saliva gets into it and dilutes the whitening gel, which will result in less effect.

4. Have your teeth cleaned before any whitening procedure. This gives the technique the best chance for success.

5. The success of the whitening depends on you. Your hygiene must be impeccable, including brushing and flossing twice a day (as is best anyway). If you choose to be sloppy with the way you clean your teeth, the plaque (bacteria) that develops on your teeth daily will insulate your teeth and lessen the effect of the whitening gel. Hygiene has a lot to do with your overall health, but this is an entirely different subject.

6. A lot of people (myself included) develop very sensitive teeth during the whitening process (including the 1 hour in-office systems). With a standard system as described above, we used to tell people to stop wearing the tray for a few days, then wear it again, then stop, until they reached the peak whitening (7-10 whitening days usually). The sensitivity will subside, and there is no permanent damage.

7. During the whitening process, your teeth will pick up stains easier, so no red wine, no smoking, no coffee, no dark soft drinks, no soy sauce, etc.(Common sense items)   After your teeth are white, it’s okay to use them again.

8. “You get what you pay for” holds true here.  There are people who have had great success with the inexpensive products, but they are in a small percentage, and they most likely will need to keep using the product frequently. The end result is a cost that is greater and less effective than doing it right the first time.