Mount Kisco Dentist Shares Teeth-Whitening Tips
Linda Lombroso| March 10,2015|
Teeth whitening is an easy way to improve your appearance. Over-the-counter whitening strips, custom trays and in-office whitening can brighten most teeth, says Dr. Carolyn Clemenza of Mount Kisco.
Teeth whitening is one of the easiest ways to improve your appearance. But what’s the best way to brighten your smile — and can everybody get whiter teeth?
We asked Mount Kisco dentist Dr. Carolyn Clemenza for advice.
If somebody comes in for teeth whitening, what do you try first?
There are all kinds of products, from white strips to “extreme whitening,” and the procedure depends on the color of your teeth. We recommend white strips for teenagers. Young people’s teeth whiten very quickly.
What’s one step up from over-the-counter whitening strips?
Tray bleaching, where molds are made of your upper and lower teeth, and custom trays are fabricated. We dispense a kit of peroxide gel and you sleep with this for two weeks. That’s old-school traditional whitening, and it works extremely well.
What about those in-office whitening procedures?
There’s a product called Zoom, where you sit in a dental chair under a light that activates the gel. It takes about two hours. But we will always make you bleaching trays in addition. If you just do the Zoom and you don’t have a way to touch up your teeth, they’re going to revert to the old color. There are people who tell me they’re never going to sleep with the bleaching trays — a lot of times, they’re the ones doing the Zoom in office — but I still insist on making them the trays.
Does Zoom give you whiter teeth than the take-home trays?
No. It’s not better. It’s just quicker.
You offer something called power bleaching. What’s that?
You do the Zoom in office to start. That night you go home with your bleaching trays and whiten at home for two weeks. This is for a person whose teeth are a bit darker.
So what is “extreme bleaching”?
That’s when you have a very tough case — a person who has tetracycline-stained teeth, for example. Gray teeth are very hard to whiten. So we do Zoom in the office to start, two to three weeks of trays at home, then Zoom again in the office.
Does bleaching always work on tetracycline-stained teeth?
Not in every case. The results are very unpredictable, and you have to be honest with your patient and tell them that.
How do you keep your teeth white after you’ve done the bleaching?
It can last forever if you do the maintenance. Once a month, after whitening, you wear your trays with touch-up gel for one hour or sleep with them for one night.
If somebody has sensitive teeth, doesn’t whitening hurt?
Sensitivity is a big deal. Two weeks prior to doing any type of whitening — from tray bleaching on up — we give a prescription fluoride toothpaste called PreviDent, which will desensitize the teeth. It’s like Sensodyne on steroids. When you’re doing the combination whitening of Zoom with the take-home trays, we use desensitizing drops that the patient will swab on the teeth prior to inserting the trays at night.
What about the white spots that sometimes appear on your teeth when you’re using whitening strips?
The teeth whiten unevenly sometimes, even in tray bleaching. People get nervous, but you have to keep on going and eventually everything will even out.
Interview was edited and condensed.