Carlos Boudet, DDS DICOI
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Bleaching or Teeth Whitening

Commonly asked questions about bleaching (teeth whitening)


What is Bleaching?

Bleaching is a process that removes stain and discoloration from the teeth. The bleaching agent can be applied by a dentist at a dental visit, or self applied at home. Due to the safety and simplicity (not to mention the lesser cost) of the procedure, I prefer the self applied method of delivery.


Why are some teeth more yellow than others?

All teeth are not created equal, and some teeth are whiter that others. Teeth also aquire stains and become darker for several reasons. The most common causes of yellow teeth include stains from coffee, tea, cola, tobacco, aging, tetracycline taken as an infant child, trauma to the teeth, etc...


Can anybody whiten his or her teeth?

Almost everybody can have their teeth whitened, but in some cases, bleaching may not be very effective. Your dentist can help you determine whether you could benefit from bleaching or not.


What are my options for bleaching my teeth?

Basically you have two options. Bleaching at the dentist chair, or bleaching at home. Bleaching at home causes less sensitivity than the method at the dentist chair because it is done gradually over several days, and both methods achieve the same results.


Is bleaching safe?

The self applied method of bleaching That I recommend uses a chemical called carbamide peroxide which has been used in the mouth for a very long time and is very safe, and is the method used by most dentists for their patients that request bleaching. (The procedure should not be used by pregnant or lactating mothers since no testing or research has been done with that group of patients). Also bleaching treatments should be applied for one to two weeks and then stopped, as they offer no benefit after two weeks of use.


Are there any adverse effects?

The only common side effect is sensitivity to cold, but it is usually temporary. If the teeth become sensitive, stop bleaching for a few days until they are back to normal and you can try again.


Can you describe the bleaching process?

Gladly. The dentist takes an impression of your upper and lower teeth and makes stone models of your mouth. On those models he makes a soft tray that covers your teeth and is used to carry a bleaching gel. The trays keep the gel in contact with the tooth surface. You are given the trays, the bleaching gel and instructions. In the comfort of your home and at your convenience, you place the tray with the gel in the mouth for a few hours every day and, in about a week, your teeth should be as white as they can get in your particular case, then you use the gel only occasionaly when you think you need a little whitening or to maintain what you have achieved.


Where can you get the bleaching products?

You can get the bleaching systems over the counter at some stores, but you will not get the best results from these(they require that you boil the tray material and mold it in your mouth). The dentist makes a custom fitted tray with a small space around the teeth so the gel stays in the right place and is effective for a longer period of time. The dentist-made tray also prevents using too much gel that can squeeze out and irritate your gums, tongue and throat.


Does bleaching work on all teeth?

No. Bleaching does not work on teeth that are covered by a crown, veneers, or filling material.


Does my insurance pay for bleaching?

Unfortunalely, no. Insurance does not pay for bleaching, as it is considered a cosmetic procedure.


If we can help you with any other questions about bleaching your teeth, please call our office at (561) 968 6022