Today patients have never had more options for whitening their teeth, including over the counter preparations like Crest Whitestrips, in-office light assisted tooth whitening(in an hour or two) or using trays made by the dentist to be used at home to gradually lighten and whiten teeth(one to three weeks). It wasn't always this easy!
In the 1980's in -office light assisted bleaching was an option, but it was more time consuming, took many more sessions and was a much more expensive than it is today. Accordingly, dentists looked for a better, more affordable way and tray bleaching was developed using vinyl mouthguards designed for preventing tooth grinding and inserting a 10% carbamide peroxide solution in the tray and having the patient wear it over night for 3-6 weeks until the desired shade change had occurred.
Now, we have improved techniques and either in-office chair side tooth whitening or custom tray bleaching are relatively affordable and popular options. In our office we utilize the Zoom whitening system for in office tooth bleaching procedures in an hour or two. We also like using a 16% carbamide solution placed in trays and worn at night to gradually lighten the teeth at night. Both techniques have pros and cons, but both work well!
The pros for Zoom are fast results, and the procedure is done for you, with out any work on your part. The cons are that there is no easy way to touch-up the result and there is some fading in the first two weeks. Also there is no way of knowing exactly how white your teeth will get after and hour or two of bleaching under the Zoom lamp.
The pros for custom tray bleaching are that the end point is flexible (you have some control of how white to make your teeth) and you can touch up the result by wearing the trays for another night or two after 6 months. The cons are that some people don't want to be bothered wearing trays at night and 3 weeks can seem like a long time to some patients!
Which ever way you choose, all three techniques work and will help you achieve a brighter smile. Cost issues aside, a favorite technique starts with the zoom in office teeth whitening and is followed up with tray bleaching to finish off the whitening process and allow for easy touch-ups.
Lawrence Spindel is a dentist practicing in Midtown Manhattan in N.Y.C. For more information about Teeth Whitening - http://www.lspindeldds.com/teeth_whitening, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, veneers or other dental topics visit - http://www.lspindeldds.com