Coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine, antibiotics and age can all darken teeth. Patients can choose from two routes to whiter teeth: at-home whitening or in-office whitening.
At-home bleaching kits use carbamide peroxide solutions to oxidize and bleach your teeth. Your dentist will create customized trays for your mouth based on plaster molds of your teeth. Place the solution in these trays, then hold the tray in your mouth for the amount of time specified by your dentist. He or she will determine a duration of treatment. In a few weeks, return to your dentist for a follow-up appointment.
In-office bleaching (also called chair side, light-activated or one-hour bleaching) uses hydrogen peroxide gels and a heat or light source, these treatments lighten your teeth by six to eight shades in one to three visits, and sometimes less. The light source can be a plasma arc lamp or a laser. The dentist applies the gel to your teeth, then shines the light source, quickening the work of the gel. When a lamp is used, three twenty-minute gel applications are required. When a laser is used, the dentist treats each tooth individually.