Whitening – Bleaching can be done to lighten all your teeth (external bleaching), or just a single tooth (internal bleaching).
When we talk about bleaching teeth, people are usually thinking about external bleaching. For externally bleaching all your teeth, we use a take-home, custom tray system.
- You put the bleach gel into custom fit trays and wear them for an hour or two a day, or overnight.
- Most people get good results in one to three weeks.
- It is the least expensive whitening system.
- And it gives the best results, which do not relapse after a few weeks like the light and heat assisted in-office systems do.
People often request a “touch up” bleach after a year because they think their teeth have darkened a little. But when we compare their teeth to the shade guide, we find they haven’t darkened at all. They probably just get used to their new shade so they don’t seem as “bright” as when they just finished bleaching.
Internal bleaching is for a single tooth which has darkened because it has had, or needs, root canal treatment.
- We seal off the root inside the tooth and have the patient put bleach into the tooth itself, again with a custom fit tray.
- We can often get a tooth to the same color as the other teeth.
- We prefer to get it slightly lighter if we can.
Internal bleaching does tend to relapse somewhat after 5-10 years. But if it does, it usually can be bleached again.
Below is a patient of Yamamoto and Lee who needed internal bleaching and a veneer.