Whitening or bleaching can be the fastest, safest way to brighten your smile. With the development of a material called carbamide peroxide, we are now able to safely bleach teeth at home.
First, impressions are made of your teeth using a gel material. In a few minutes, the dentist will fabricate a very thin plastic tray that fits over your teeth. These trays can be worn at work or at night and are barely noticeable to most people. In this tray you place a small amount of the whitening gel and place the tray into your mouth to wear for 3 to 4 hours a day. You may wish to wear the trays for longer or shorter periods. Just remember, the longer you wear the trays each day the faster your teeth will reach their maximum whiteness. At 3 to 4 hours per day, an average time of about 7 to 10 days is required to bleach completely.
Whitening the teeth in this manner is considered a permanent change. However, there may be some color rebound and your teeth will still be susceptible to staining and ageing. So, you may wish to use the gel at home from time to time to "freshen" your smile. Be aware that this type of home bleach system works extremely well with yellow and orange-brown staining and ageing. It does not, however, work well with grey stains associated with antibiotic staining although it will sometimes lighten some. Dark grey staining is best handled with resin bonding or porcelain veneers in conjunction with the bleaching process.
What could be easier? Well, you ask, there must be a downside, right? Of course. Restorations like crowns and fillings will not bleach and may possibly have to be replaced after bleaching is done. Talk with your dentist or one specializing in cosmetics. Discuss your specific needs and get that smile you've always wanted.