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Boise Dentist Blog

The professional blog of Doctors Dan Bruce, Steve Bruce, Rosa Pothier and Rob Ririe

Tooth Whitening Options

Tooth Whitening Options We have received a number of questions lately about tooth whitening, such as: will it be sensitive, how long will it take, how white will my teeth get, how is whitening at the dentist different from over-the-counter whitening products?  These are all good questions and we wanted to give a little insight to help make your decision.  Will it be sensitive?  Often there is some sensitivity with whitening products.  This can vary based on the porosity and amount of enamel and how sensitive your teeth are overall.  Brushing with a prescription fluoride desensitizer such as Prevident for a week or two before and during whitening will likely help reduce sensitivity a lot.  How long will it take?  Tray whitening, which involves taking impressions of your mouth and making trays in which you place gel usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for results.  Zoom! whitening, which we have available at both offices, takes about 1 to 1.5 hours, but does require an initial appointment to make trays for desensitizing after the appointment.  How white will my teeth get?  This also depends on the thickness and porosity of the enamel, but usually we can lighten your teeth 2 or more shades.  Thin enamel that is grey to begin with does not bleach as well, so talk to us before bleaching. How are trays different from OTC whitening products?  OTC strips or other products can be effective.  Trays from our offices have some advantages, though.  Trays help keep the gel in contact with the teeth and does not get washed away by saliva as easily.  More gel stays on your teeth and out of your mouth.  Trays also more evenly distribute the gel, especially if your teeth are malpositioned.  Zoom! whitening involves a high intensity light that works quickly and very effectively.  You can have the same whitening result in about an hour as compared to a couple of weeks with trays or strips. Please contact us with any other questions you may have, we will be happy to help you decide if whitening is for you.