Achieving a bright white smile!

Patients often want to know how to get a “bright white” smile. The good news is that there is more than one way to achieve this “bright” smile.

Custom Tray Bleaching

A very popular method of achieving the “bright white” smile is  teeth whitening or “bleaching”. We do offer custom tray bleaching in our office.  Dr. Alison’s patients often have an essix or clear retainer that can be used as the tray for the bleach.  The bleach is in the form of a gel usually at 11%, 16%, or 22% carmamide peroxide which should only be purchased from a dentist or dental specialist.  At the delivery appointment for the bleach, instructions will be given on how to safely use the bleach with the retainers at home.  In all cases, patients should call the office with any questions or concerns about the process.

How to use bleaching gel:

  1. Squeeze a thin line of gel in the tray from premolar to premolar (do not fill entire tooth well up)
  2. Position the tray on teeth as normal wear as a retainer
  3. Leave tray on teeth for 30 minutes a day or less for up to 14 days or until desired result has been reached
  4. Be sure to rinse/brush the  tray thoroughly after each use
  5. Touch up or maintenance may be needed once every few weeks


Risks of bleaching teeth:

  1.  Chemical burn to the gingiva from prolonged contact with the gel.  This issue can be corrected by using less gel in the tray.
  2. Pain associated with sensitive teeth and/or hot/cold sensitivity while eating/ drinking
    • increase the time in between bleaching and reduce the time with the tray to 15 minutes
    • use fluorinated toothpaste and let sit on teeth for approximately a minute at a different time than the bleaching session.  Do not brush teeth right before or after use of gel to avoid the breakdown of enamel
    • Avoid eating or drinking highly acidic items right before or after to avoid the wear down of the enamel


Whitening Strips

Another option of teeth whitening is whitening strips. There are many different brands and strengths of bleaching strips available in the retail market, so you may have to  find what you like best by testing a few brands. In our office we have tried the Crest 3D white whitestrips with positive results. There are two separate whitestrips in each treatment package, one for the lower and one for the upper. The whitestrips attach to your teeth and stay in place until you remove them. Instructions on the package recommend to wear the whitestrips for an hour before removing. We suggest to  start with less than an hour of time and only increase the wear time after you determine how your teeth will respond.

Whitening Toothpaste

The least invasive way to whitening your teeth is with toothpaste. Each brand of toothpaste has their own version of whitening toothpaste with varying results. There is some speculation as to how effective whitening is with toothpaste. Crest  Pro health HD two part toothpaste has shown great results, especially while incorporating with an electric toothbrush. The first part has stannous fluoride in it. Stannous fluoride is an anti-cavity, anti-gingivitis, and anti-sensitivity ingredient. The second part/step is a perfecting gel that polishes and whitens your teeth.

With any whitening process, it is very important to speak with your dentist before beginning the treatment.

The Drs. and staff here at Reid & Reid Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics would like to send our best wishes for all the students and staff that have started back to school! We hope everyone is off to a fabulous start to a healthy and enjoyable year!