Teeth whitening is a process that uses a light for the surface of the teeth. The level of whiteness will depend on the strength of the light. Zoom itself is an all-in-one product that has its own gel. However, we prefer Opalescence to Zoom at our practice because it has a stronger gel and light than what Zoom offers. Zoom is popular with a lot of people because it is very simple and straightforward to use and is quite effective. The concept behind teeth whitening is about the same. Zoom has just done a very good job of branding itself.
When the patient comes in for the first consultation, we will check the hygiene of the patient to find out if a cleaning is needed prior to starting. If a cleaning is needed, the whitening will not be as effective and there is a big chance that the gums will be infected.
If no cleaning is needed, the first procedure would be for the patient to have their gums protected with a special gel. We apply the gel and harden it using the same light as the whitening. This protects the gums from the teeth whitening gels. Without this step, the gums would be at risk of being damaged or irritated.
Once the gums are well protected, we will then apply the bleaching gel. We apply a light onto the bleaching gel and the teeth themselves for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Once we are done with that, we clean off the bleaching gel and then remove the gum protector. We then recheck to see how much the shade has changed from beginning to end.
A bundled deal will get the patient whitening and a set of custom trays and gels which the patient gets to take home. The reason why we offer the trays at the end is for maintaining the whiteness of the patient’s teeth.
We may supply more for certain patients depending on their particular case. Our most successful patients can sustain their white color for 4-6 months. After that time, the results will start to fade, unless the patients continue to use the trays or come back for another procedure.
A patient can apply it by squeezing a little bit of the gel into the designated areas of the trays. Over a period of three or four months after the procedure itself, the patient will be able to maintain the same color immediately after wearing the gels.
It is important that patients follow the take home instructions as we have seen a lot of patients go back to their natural shades pretty quickly. Regular application of these gels is important and minimizes the chances of the teeth reverting to its natural color.
Patients should avoid the usual suspects such as coffee, tea, and wine, whose staining effect is even more pronounced on bleached teeth. Those are the major things that we advise our patients to stay away from for at least a few months before using it regularly. Brushing helps because it cleans away any debris that might be stuck to the teeth.
It is critical that the protective layers being used during the procedure are put on correctly, so there is no possibility of burned gums. The doctor must make sure the area is clean and be very careful when applying the protective layers. The doctor must ensure that the gums are not swollen because that would not allow a proper fitting of the protective layer. This is done in order to avoid any damage to the gums at any cost.
Treating the burns will be different for every individual depending on its severity. There is a combination of treatments that may help such as laser treatments and rinses such as Peridex, which treats pain and swelling.
The laser treatment is recommended in extreme cases, or for really bad burns. Patients with burned gums are also advised to stay away from hot or spicy foods which tend to irritate that area even more. It will also require a little bit of time to heal just like with any burn.
Bleaching itself runs from about $199 and up. It is variable pricing that depends on the length of the procedure and how many times the patient decides to get it done. Some patients will decide to get it two or three more times for more lasting results.
Our most popular package is the one that includes the take home trays and the take home kit. That one includes the one-hour bleaching, a checkup appointment after that, any necessary cleaning prior to the bleaching in the absence of periodontal disease or anything of that nature, and take home trays with one tube of gel. This package gives the patient everything they need for lasting and effective results.
How often they return for follow ups is gauged by the sensitivity of the patient. Some patients tend to be extremely sensitive after it is done because the procedure essentially burns some of the enamel layer. On average, however, it is about a 2-3 week time frame between each session, with a week or two variance depending on the patient’s comfort level.
In certain circumstances, patients decide to get one or two extra one hour bleaching sessions instead of using the take home trays. In unique cases, some will even do both to ensure their teeth are as white as possible.
Teeth whitening is a great option for patients of all ages who want to restore their white teeth. The procedure is popular for its simple application and flexible payment and treatment options.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Jouriy Grkikian of Y2K Dentistry in Sherman Oaks, CA.