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Who Are The Best Candidates For Whitening, And How Long Will Your Teeth Stay White?

What to know BEFORE you whiten:

"Our culture focuses on the fact that others perceive us as healthier, happier and younger when our teeth are bright and attractive" *

Tooth Whitening Video

These are guidelines to determine if your teeth will look better after whitening.

bullet"Bleach" until they are white: Regardless of making marketing claims say the length of time it takes for teeth to change color is individually determined.  Remember to quit whitening when your teeth quit changing color because at this point is when the lightening process is complete.
bulletLook at the "whites" of your eyes: The most natural look for most people is when the color of your teeth match the sclera of your eyes.  So using this method you can look at the mirror at yourself and others to determine how much improvement in general appearance your teeth will receive from whitening.  People whose teeth are more yellow than the whites of their eyes may end up with the most improved looking smile after using the whitening technique, while those whose teeth already match their eyes may not look noticeably better.
bulletSmiles should stay bright for 1-3 years.
bulletBrushing right before whitening is not recommended as it might cause abrasion and sensitivity. 
bulletDo not eat or drink anything after whitening that might cause a stain...coffee, tea, etc.
bulletExisting crowns or fillings will not respond to the whitening agent.
bulletStrips do not whiten entire arches.  They only cover the front teeth.
bulletDo not smoke or chew tobacco after using whitening products.
bulletDo not use whitening products if you have decay, gum disease or hypersensitivity.
bulletKnow the condition of your teeth and oral tissues.  A through examination and cleaning from your dentist is recommended BEFORE using whitening products. ^

The Great White Hope

"Aged" teeth BEFORE whiteningBefore Whitening            "Younger" looking teeth AFTER whitening After Whitening

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 The protocol to help produce whiter smiles:      

                1.  Visit your dentist first to determine the health of your teeth and gums before you start "bleaching" your teeth.  This is a screening service to rule out other causes of discoloration, gum tissue health and condition of tooth surfaces. Also this is especially important if you have many fillings, crowns and extremely dark stains.  The present shade of your teeth will be determined:

Compare the color of your teeth to this "shade" guide.
Tooth color shade guide

 We recommend you lighten your teeth with  a dentist supervised at home regimen that has custom fitted trays to avoid TMD problems.

                2.  Use potassium nitrate and fluoride to treat sensitivity (potassium nitrate is already in the kits provided to our patients). If you have gum recession you may be more likely to experience tooth sensitivity during home whitening treatment.***  Use toothpaste with fluoride twice a day;  rinse with a fluoride rinse twice a day, especially at bed time; and use fluoride gel provided by your dentist as needed. You may also try an application of potassium nitrate or fluoride  for 10-30 minutes prior to or after whitening, or alternating night with whitening material, is more than 90% effective in reducing sensitivity. 

                3.  To maintain the whiteness for as long as possible, consider a whitening toothpaste that has peroxide in it the help fight off stains.  Remember to avoid curry, red wines, coffee, cola and especially smoking all these items badly stain teeth and shorten the length of time your teeth will stay white.

                4.  See contra indications for tooth whitening
It is professionally recommended that professional bleaching be avoided until you are at least 14 and your teeth are fully formed.

                5.   Whitening procedure and choices.     A white bright smiles looks so nice

                  6.  Tooth bleaching methods compared   

                  7.  Tooth whitening may reduce bad breath.**

               8.  Motivate you to maintain good health habits resulting in
                    improved oral health.

               9. Improved self esteem.  

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Contraindications/limitations of home bleaching: Comments
Extensive composite (white) & porcelain restorations Restorations will NOT bleach and you need to be informed about the cost of replacement
Pre-existing sensitivity 2/3 of these people will experience some sensitivity for 1-4 days; usually reversible upon termination of bleaching
Severe gray/blue banded tetracycline staining Guarded prognosis, may reduce amount of
"masking: required for future
Discoloration in gingival third or exposed yellow Guarded prognosis for whitening
Pregnant or lactating  No know adverse effects but avoid use as a precautionary measure
TMJ Consider bleaching one arch and monitor comfort
Translucent teeth May appear darker after bleaching
Amalgam restoration in front teeth Replace amalgams to avoid "greening effect"
Noncompliance or unrealistic expectation Determine realistic whitening results****

^ Tooth whitening, Dental notes summer 2006 pg 1.

****An Update on Tooth Whitening, Woman Dentist Journal, pg 10-22, Jan/Feb 2003

*Whiteners put shine on dental care, Stacie Crozier, ADA News April 16, 2001 pg 8-10 stated by Dr. Heymann.
**Dental Products, pg 59 May 2001.
***Incidence of Tooth Sensitivity After Home Whitening Treatment; Dr. Jorgensen, Dr. Carroll; JADA, Vol 133; pgs 1076-1082; Aug 2002.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
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