Confusion abounds when it comes to teeth bleaching. There are a myriad of over-the-counter products that claim to whiten and brighten a smile at a fraction of the cost of what a dentist charges. While some of these products will work (if you use them long enough) some of them are a complete waste of time while others can actually harm the teeth.
A few years ago I received a phone call from a frantic patient. She was literally crying on the phone to me while she explained that she was getting married in three days and her teeth were BLUE! She confessed that she had used a brand name over-the-counter bleaching product that turned her teeth blue. I thought she was just being an overly sensitive bride-to-be. I told her to come into the office and I would see what I could do to fix the problem. I honestly thought I would be able to calmly explain to her that the teeth were just whiter and that maybe they appeared blue and everything was going to be OK. When the patient arrived I was completely shocked at the literally BLUE TEETH she had. I tried everything to undo the blue color with no success. Eventually the blue color went away but this poor woman suffered tremendously because of her experience.
All of the current research on bleaching teeth shows that the most effective way to bleach teeth is with an in-office “power bleach” followed immediately by a consistent regimen of “take home” bleach.
In-office “power bleach” utilizes a very high concentration of bleach that if used without supervision would damage the teeth and the surrounding soft tissues. The teeth are completely isolated and then the bleach is applied to the teeth. No light is shined on the teeth at all because all current bleaching studies show that light only heats up the teeth and causes sensitivity, it does not increase the effectiveness of the bleach at all.
While the patient’s teeth are being bleached, custom bleaching trays are being fabricated to allow the patient to continue bleaching at home in order to ensure the whitest and brightest smile possible.
Upon completion of the in-office “power bleach” the patient is given take-home bleach (less concentrated) and instructions for using the bleaching trays to get the whitest teeth possible. These bleaching trays can also be used periodically to maintain the amazingly white teeth.