INSTRUCTIONS FOR TEETH WHITENING WITH OPALESCENCE:
- Allow our office to perform a comprehensive examination and X-rays to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. For female patients, whitening is not recommended while pregnant or lactating.
- Digital photos and a computerized color spectrophotometer will be used to determine the starting shade of your teeth. Tooth color is ordered from brightest to darkest using a combination of letters & numbers.
- B1 - A1 - B2 - D2 - A2 - C1 - C2 - D4 - A3 - D3 - B3 - A3.5 - B4 - C3 - A4 - C4
- Brush with Sensodyne toothpaste twice daily for 2 weeks prior to starting the whitening treatment.
- Decide which teeth you plan to whiten by counting the teeth that are visible when you smile in a mirror. For most patients we recommend whitening of the upper 8 – 10 teeth and the lower 8 teeth. Please note that your whitening trays are typically extended back to the second molars only to promote better stability in the mouth.
- Prior to whitening, follow your normal oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing.
- Load gel into your tray in the shape of an “O” or “U” into the middle front portion of each tooth that you plan to whiten. Use the gel sparingly. Keep in mind that the 8 syringes provided in the kit contain enough gel for ~15 – 20 separate treatments, or 2-3 weeks.
- Insert tray and adapt sides of tray against teeth. Remove any excess gel that exudes onto the gums with a clean tissue or soft toothbrush.
- Diagrams of these instructions are shown on pamphlets contained inside the white envelope included with your whitening kit.
- Depending on your needs, level of sensitivity, and day-to-day activities, you can elect to whiten your teeth either during the day or at night.
- As shown in the diagram, the active ingredient in the whitening gel degrades exponentially over time.
- Nighttime whitening (8-10 hours) yields maximum results with the least material, but may cause sensitivity.
- Daytime whitening (4-6 hours) will yield the same result, but will require more treatments. However, less sensitivity is typically experienced due to the shorter contact time per treatment.
- Some patients experience tooth sensitivity and/or temporary discomfort of the gums during the whitening process. If this occurs, consider waiting 1-2 days between treatments and/or shortening the length of each whitening session. These side effects will usually subside within 1-3 days after treatment is discontinued.
- The use of Sensodyne toothpaste will help minimize discomfort during treatment. If sensitivity continues to persist, contact us and we will exchange your unused syringes for a whitening gel with a lower concentration.
- White spots or streaks called hypocalcifications tend to whiten faster and may become more obvious during treatment. Continue the whitening treatment until the unaffected tooth surface blends.
- Clean tray with soft toothbrush and cool tap water. Store trays in case provided.
- If you are bleaching your teeth prior to cosmetic dental procedures such as bonding, crowns or veneers, ideally 2 weeks should be allowed for color stabilization after completion of whitening. This gives us the highest probability of success with the shade matching of your restorations to your newly whitened teeth.
- After you have reached your desired “target” shade, please schedule a short appointment so that we can evaluate your whitening results using digital photos and our computerized spectrophotometer.
- Store any syringes of unused whitening gel in the refrigerator to maintain “shelf life” (~24 months).
- Maintain your new whiter smile by practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco use, and limiting consumption of hot tea, coffee, red wine, etc. The longevity of the whitening effect is quite variable due to these factors, but will typically last 1-2 years. Ask us for advice when you feel your teeth need a “touch-up”.
- The whitening gel is only effective on natural teeth and will not change the shade of existing tooth-colored fillings, crowns or veneers. Please be aware that these restorations may require replacement after whitening is completed – ask us for details before you start!
- Teeth are naturally darker along the gumline. These areas may require more time to lighten than the rest of the tooth surface and remain slightly darker even after treatment. In addition, the canines are inherently the darkest teeth in the mouth and may remain ½ - 1 shade darker than adjacent teeth.
- Teeth with large silver fillings may end up appearing darker because whitening increases the translucency of teeth and permits the internal aspect of the silver filling to become more visible. A full coverage restoration such as a crown may be required to obtain ideal esthetics.
- Please understand that whitening is a cumulative process and may require multiple treatments before results are noticeable. Be patient and follow our instructions and you’ll be on your way to a whiter smile!