Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Whitening – Birmingham and Vestavia Hills
Teeth whitening is more than just brushing the teeth or applying bleach to color the outside of the enamel. Tooth whitening procedures vary so the costs will as well. Having a basic foundation of teeth whitening before you see a dental professional can help you with understanding the process better, and maybe provide additional questions to issues previously overlooked.
Dr. Michael Maniscalco and his staff at Maniscalco Cosmetic Dentistry have put together this frequently asked question section for our patients who wish to have an introductory knowledge of teeth whitening including the Lumibrite™ teeth whitening system. Read our FAQ and find out what teeth whitening is about.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is the process of lightening the tooth several shades through professionally administered procedures or over the counter kits for use at home. Teeth whitening is generally for cosmetic reasons, however, hygienic reasons may prompt a patient to seek teeth whitening from a professional.
Why is Teeth Whitening Needed?
Generally, teeth whitening is for cosmetic purposes – removing stains caused by food and/or whitening the teeth so the teeth are more brilliant. Stains may be due to bacteria that have bonded to the teeth overtime, causing discoloration of the tooth.
What is Discoloration?
Discoloration is the staining of the tooth due to external, internal or a combination of both factors. Discoloration is characterized as being extrinsic or intrinsic depending on the cause and nature of the discoloration. Extrinsic discoloration suggests cosmetic staining and need of light to moderate teeth whitening procedures, while intrinsic staining is usually from previous dental procedures, the material staining the inside of the tooth.
How Does The Whitening Process Work?
Teeth whitening, or bleaching agents contain at least a 10% concentration of carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide dissolves into hydrogen peroxide in the presence of air and moisture, and proceeds to break apart the stain by setting into the enamel and cutting off the chemical bonds responsible for the color of the stain.
Non-peroxide based substances are often used for purposes other than teeth bleaching.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?
A typical procedure can run anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the extent of staining. Intrinsic discoloration cases may take longer due to the enamel absorbing the bleaching agent slower. As with cost, the length depends largely on the procedure being sought and for the purpose it is being sought for.
What Types Of Teeth Whitening Products Are Available?
The most popular types of over the counter products are trays outfitted with a bleaching gel that address stains and brightness with repeated use and are usually left in overnight. Strips that can be used on the go are available, albeit with a lower strength of whitening. Eight different types of toothpaste exist for various teeth whitening purposes.
What Is Lumibrite™?
Lumibrite™ teeth whitening is a brand of light accelerated bleaching that uses a custom designed blue lamp and specially formulated 16% concentrate hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent to achieve results faster and better than other light accelerated bleaching procedures on the market.
What Is Light Accelerated Bleaching?
Light accelerated bleaching is the process of emitting pulses of light or a source of energy at a bleaching gel, exciting and activating the oxidizing agents in the bleach , increasing the speed and strength of the process. Light accelerated bleaching has been known to achieve better results in less time.
Which Procedure Is Right For Me?
Because different procedures are suited for certain cases better than others, a proper consultation by Dr. Michael Maniscalco is recommended before proceeding with a teeth whitening procedure whether it’s at home or in the clinic.
Are Teeth Whitening Procedures Safe?
Most over the counter products contain a concentration of carbamide peroxide of 10% or less, and can be used by oneself with proper care. The peroxide compounds are often lack the strength to cause serious damage as long as guidelines for use are followed.
In-office procedures are generally for patients who require the services of a dental professional. In most cases, these procedures can be considered safe, as professional monitoring occurs through the whole process.
What is the Cost of Teeth Whitening?
Costs vary depending on the nature of discoloration or purpose of whitening. The procedure selected may require agents specific to that method of treatment, adding to existing fees.
How Many Visits Are Required?
The number of visits rests largely on the outcome of the initial procedure and the patients’ desire to proceed with additional whitening. Severe cases of intrinsic discoloration may require numerous visits when bleaching is no longer a viable option
Are Results Guaranteed?
A whitening of the teeth is guaranteed, but results may vary. Natural age and wear may prevent the patient from being guaranteed a certain level of brightness.