• Daniel Saffo

Bleaching FAQ

With a million different options on the market, I get a lot of questions about tooth whitening. Let's review some of these Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is it better to have in-office bleaching with an activating light or take-home trays?

A: Studies have shown that in-office bleaching light systems just don't work. They often look very cool- but they're ineffective. We recommend take-home custom trays.

Q: How are custom trays made?

A: We start by taking a set of impressions of your upper and lower teeth. The image above demonstrates a cast that was poured up from those impressions. The blue material is what we call blockout. In order to create room for the bleaching material, a composite is applied from the second premolars forward. Blockout is not applied to the molars as they are never seen when you smile. Another important design feature is a scalloped tray. Bleaching trays should follow the contours of the gumline in order to prevent gel from irritating the gums.

Q: How much bleaching gel do I need to use and how do I apply it?

A: Bleaching gel is only applied to the front side of each tooth- up to the premolars. You only need about the size of a grain of rice.

Q: What's the difference between Crest White Strips and what I can get at the dental office?

A: The biggest difference between an over-the-counter whitening strip and dental office bleaching is gel concentration. We offer a high concentration of carbamide peroxide, the active ingredient.

Q: Does bleaching my teeth cause damage?

A: No. Many patients may experience temporary cold sensitivity when bleaching their teeth. What's happening is tubules/pores in the teeth become more permeable after bleaching. You aren't losing enamel and this sensitivity is short lived.

Q: Do fillings or crowns bleach?

A: No. In certain cases, we have patients bleach their teeth first before performing any restorative work.

-Dr. Daniel Saffo


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