If you are considering whitening your teeth, you generally have three options

In Office

Take Home

A Combination of Two

In-office teeth whitening – Is it the best choice for you?
Past research has shown that the combination of in office bleaching with take home treatment is the most effective


A combined treatment approach.

Research and an understanding of the dehydration effect that can take place during in-office bleaching procedures provides a rationale for the use of a combined treatment approach (in-office whitening followed up with the use of an at-home system). To recap:

  • The in-office treatment provides a quick and noticeable color change.

  • The at-home system helps to compensate for the short-term color relapse due to the loss of the tooth dehydration effect.

  • The at-home treatments also help to create the maximum whitening effect possible (the end point where peroxide-based whiteners cannot lighten the teeth any further) without the need of further in-office sessions.

Following the in-office process with an at-home system can provide a means by which to easily lighten the patient’s back teeth to a point where their color blends in and more closely matches the new shade of their front teeth.

Questions behind tooth whitening

There are many causes of tooth staining. Certain medicines tooth trauma, root fillings, and foods and beverages can cause tooth discoloration over time. Some discolorations are superficial while others internal. Both can be effectively treated by a dentist professional whitening is the best option to safely lighten discolored teeth.

The whitening process is possible due to the ability of the carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide to freely pass thru enamel and dentin and to permeate to all parts of the tooth. These peroxides break down to oxygen radicals which migrate between the enamel prisms, breaking down any colored molecules that result in tooth discoloration. The structure of the tooth is not alteres the internal tooth color is simply made lighter.

Numerous studies have proven the effectiveness of peroxides in whitening teeth.  Enamel, dentin, existing fillings, and bonding materials are not effected by the whitening agents nor are they harmed by the whitening agents nor are they harmed by the whitening materials.

Even though bleaching agents release a great amount of oxygen into the tooth, existing bonds are not weakened.

If bleaching before bleaching allow a period of 7-10 days after bleaching.  The high concentration of oxygen in the tooth could significantly and adversely affect polymerization of the resins..

Bleaching results are very stable but depending on the patient’s nutrition and lifestyle habits the procedure may need to be redone periodically.  Due to the safety of the bleaching agents this should not concern the dentist or patient.

Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common side effect of bleaching.  If sensitivity occurs, it is transient and usually disappears after the completion of bleaching.  However, the product that our office uses, Opalescence include PF (potassium nitrate and fluoride) desensitizing agents for additional comfort.  Research has shown that just as hydrogen peroxide penetrates thru the enamel and dentin and to the pulp, so does PF. PF acts more like an analgesic or anesthetic by keeping the nerve from repolarizing after it has depolarized in the pain cycle.  Fluoride acts primarily as a tubule blocker, plugging th holes and sowing down the fluid flow that causes the sensitivity.

Findings on the Opalescence PF product line presented at the American Association of Dental Research and the Journal of the American Dental Association confirm the whitening with Opalescence PF will actually minimize sensitivity, provide anticaries benefits, increase enamel microhardness and improve overall enamel health.