Whitening procedures, or bleaching, offer patients with stained, discolored, or dull teeth an opportunity to have a whiter, brighter smile. Our at-home whitening program is easy and safe to use. It is one of the most affordable and conservative ways to make a big difference in your smile.

Different Ways to Whiten:

Over-the-Counter Products:
Whitening toothpastes are abrasive and can remove healthy tooth structure along with the stains on your teeth.
Whitening strips are inexpensive and popular. It may take longer and cost more in the long run to whiten to make a difference since OTC products are not as strong or as effective as professional whitening. It can be a good product for people with sensitive teeth.

At-Home Whitening Program:
We offer a professional whitening program that can be completed in the comfort of your own home. We provide you with trays and a stronger whitening material than you can get in the stores, making it a more effective and quicker whitening process.
The whitening program is customized to fit your needs. We can tailor the program based on what you want, guide you through the process and help prevent side effects such as sensitivity. We are available whenever you need us to help along the way and will monitor the results. The program is safe, simple and economical.

In-Office Whitening:
Another option is to have the whitening agent professionally applied by a dentist in the office. The results will be faster, but that’s the only advantage. The process is much more expensive than the at-home program. The risk of tooth and gum sensitivity is much greater with in-office whitening since a very high powered bleach is applied to the teeth. The teeth may appear whiter when using a laser or a light with in-office whitening, but it’s because heat dehydrated the teeth, making them look lighter. When the teeth rehydrate, the color rebounds and the teeth will not stay as white as when you left the office. The results end up being similar whether you do at-home or in-office whitening. Since at-home programs give you the same results with less money and less side effects, it is our choice of treatment for whitening.

At-Home Whitening

There are two options with our at-home whitening program: custom trays and GO trays. It’s important to talk with Dr. Brian Haeussner about which option may be best for you.

GO Trays:

These are stock trays that are one size fits all.

Advantages over custom trays: more affordable, no impressions needed, can get right away, faster by wearing only 30 minutes to 1 hour, bleaching gel already loaded in the trays.

Disadvantages: Not as tight fitting as custom trays, bleach material can come out easier and you need to spit out the excess. Swallowing the bleach can irritate your throat. Trays may not fit or adapt well to teeth when there are crowding or spacing issues, causing an uneven whitening. Customize whitening of a specific tooth or teeth is not possible. GO trays are disposable and cannot be reused.

Custom Trays:

Impressions are taken and trays are made specifically to fit your teeth.

Advantages over GO trays: The program can be better customized to your needs. Best option for a person when a stock tray will not fit properly. The trays fit better so bleach won’t come out irritating the gums. Keep the trays for life and always have them to whiten in the future. Can be used with fluoride and desensitizing agents to help with sensitive teeth.
Disadvantages: Impressions are needed, need to wear over night while sleeping, takes a bit more time to apply the bleaching gel yourself, costs more than GO trays.

What to Expect with Whitening:

You should start to see changes in the first few days of whitening and typically may take about 2 weeks to complete. Teeth should lighten 1-2 shades. However, we cannot guarantee how white or how long it will take. The amount of staining or discoloration can impact the whitening process. Some teeth are resistant to whitening or reach a saturation point and just will not lighten any more.

Certain colored stains (yellow/light brown) whiten better than others (dark brown/gray). Root surfaces do not change. White spots do not change either and may look more noticeable in the first few days of whitening until the rest of the tooth can lighten.

Existing restorations such as fillings and crowns will not whiten. They may stand out as surrounding tooth structure whitens. The restorations may need to be replaced. Some patients that need fillings or crowns on the front teeth will whiten their teeth first and then have the restoration placed. We need 2 weeks from the last time you bleached before any restorative work can be done so the color can stabilize.

The first step in the whitening program is to have an exam by Dr. Brian. We want to make sure the teeth are healthy and there’s no underlying cause for the discoloration such as decay, failing restoration, trauma or abscessed teeth. He will determine if you are a good candidate for whitening and which type of trays to use. A cleaning is also good to have to remove any plaque and calculus attached to the teeth that can get in the way of the bleach material contacting the teeth, causing uneven whitening. You do not want to start to bleach the same day as the cleaning though because it may cause sensitivity. Whitening is a safe way to lighten your teeth. The materials we use at our office are not harmful to the teeth when following our whitening program. When using the bleaching gel excessively outside of our recommendations, the bleaching gel can cause some side effects to the teeth. Tooth and gum sensitivity can occur with any whitening program.

If you develop sensitivity while whitening: Decrease the amount of time wearing the trays.
Skip a day or two, and start again.
Brush with Sensodyne.
Stop whitening and call us for an appointment.

Do NOT whiten if:
You have cavities or gum disease.
You have sensitive teeth.
You are pregnant/breastfeeding.
You have TMD (jaw pain/muscle pain).

How long whitening will last: Typically the results last 1-3 years but it varies from person to person. Periodic touch-ups will be needed to keep up your bright smile.
Your diet and habits have a big effect on how long it will last. Smoking will cause the staining and discoloration to return much faster. Certain foods and drinks will also impact the duration. For example, the more coffee, tea, red wine, and berries you have the more the teeth will discolor again. Good oral hygiene at home and routine cleanings in our office will help remove external surface stains. Periodic exams and radiographs help ensure these teeth are healthy and beautiful for a long time.