Discolored teeth may be helped by whitening. Teeth whitening, commonly referred to as bleaching, is a process that lightens teeth and makes them look whiter. Some bleaching whiteners are dispensed by the dentist and used at home by the patient. This procedure is what our office currently uses for whitening teeth. The dentist will make custom fit trays for your upper and lower teeth. The bleaching product is placed in the tray with a syringe. The tray is them worn either during the day or more commonly overnight.
The most reported side effects are temporary tooth sensitivity and slight irritation of the soft tissures. If this occurs, just discontinue bleaching for a few days and resume when the symptoms subside. Whitening toothpastes help remove surface stain only. Toothpastes do not affect stains below the tooth surfaces. Therefore, toothpastes do not get teeth as white as bleaches do. Whitening toothpastes are available over the counter, just look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Home bleaching whiteners are also sold over the counter, some with trays, strips, or a brush. Again, look for the American Dental Association's ADA Seal, this assures that the product has met the criteria for safety and effectiveness.