If you would like a whiter, brighter smile, tooth whitening may help.
2 hours in-office (at-home treatment varies)
What it is
Over time, teeth can lose their luster due to staining from food, beverages, or tobacco use. If you would like a whiter, brighter smile, tooth whitening may help. If you’re interested in whitening, ask your dentist if this treatment would be right for you. Keep in mind that fillings, crowns, and veneers will not change shades with whitening.
In-office whitening gives you the most immediate, dramatic results, often lightening teeth up to eight shades. Your in-office treatment also includes a kit for at-home care to maintain your newly whitened smile.
What to expect
First, your Dental Assistant will check the current shade of your teeth and will make a mold for your at-home whitening trays. A whitening solution will be applied to your teeth and an ultraviolet light is used to activate the solution. The solution is re-applied throughout the appointment to achieve the optimum level of whitening.
When the procedure is complete, your dental assistant will again check the shade of your teeth, and will provide you with your follow-up care instructions. For best results, it’s important to avoid dark-colored foods, beverages, and all forms of tobacco for at least 24 hours following your whitening procedure. Use your whitening trays and solution at home to refresh your smile.
You may want to bring music and headphones to your whitening appointment, as you will be lying back in the dental chair during the procedure.
Some patients experience sensitivity to hot or cold immediately following the procedure.
Direct cosmetic bonding is often used to repair otherwise healthy teeth that are broken or chipped, or teeth that do not match in size, color or spacing. Your dentist will work with you to determine if bonding could be a good solution for you.
30-60 minutes per tooth
What to expect
The bonding process is simple and often does not require anesthetics. First, your dentist will prepare the tooth surface by roughening and applying a conditioning solution. The tooth-colored resin is then placed, shaped, molded, and hardened with a curing light. This process is repeated until the desired size and shape of the tooth is achieved.
A veneer is a thin, custom-made application for the front of a tooth that is used to cover a broken, chipped, stained, or awkwardly-spaced tooth.
Two office visits:
60-minute appointment to prepare; 20-minute appointment to place.
What to expect
To place a veneer, your dentist will first check the shade of the surrounding teeth to ensure a color match. Then a small amount of enamel will be removed from the tooth to make room for the veneer, and a temporary veneer will be placed to protect the tooth. A mold of your teeth will be made and sent to the dental lab so your custom veneer can be created to match the shape and color of your other teeth. This process usually takes two weeks.
During the appointment to place the veneer, your temporary veneer will be removed and the area thoroughly cleaned. Your dentist will verify the color, fit, and look of the new veneer before placing it with dental cement.
Avoid eating anything sticky for 24-48 hours.