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Teeth Whitening, Featuring Dr. Bradley Briggs of Briggs Family Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona

Almost on a daily basis, Dr. Briggs's patients ask how they can get their teeth whiter, no matter what procedure they come into his office for.  As a dentist at Briggs Family Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona, Dr. Briggs offers professional teeth whitening, which is the same product that's offered in stores.  The difference is in the higher percentage of bleaching products that a dentist can use, which is up to 37%, compared to about 20% for over the counter products.Source: en.wikipedia.org
Dr. Briggs says that for years, dentists were using lights to enhance the bleaching process, as lights and heat activated the product but had found this was causing increased teeth sensitivity.  The newer bleaching products have a chemical mix, so that no light or heat on the teeth are needed and dentists are getting very good results.  Teeth are getting white with less sensitivity because they're adding some buffers into the teeth so they're getting as sensitive afterwards.
Teeth bleaching is internally removing stains from the enamel of the teeth.  Dr. Briggs says that there's a lot of research showing that there is no damage to the enamel from teeth bleaching.  People at home can do bleaching with trays as much as they'd like without hurting their teeth.  Some patients even have their gums turn white with at-home bleaching and that's not damaging.  In fact, it can kill bacteria which can be helpful.
Dr. Briggs says that there is no precise answer as to how long a patient's teeth will remain white from bleaching, as everyone's teeth are different and everyone's diet is different.  Red wine and coffee can stain teeth and the density of everyone's teeth is different.  When a patient comes into his office, Dr. Briggs will do a one hour procedure using a high percentage of bleach and a patient will be sent home with trays and tubes of bleach for touch-ups.  Patients will do touch-ups at different periods to keep their teeth white and even weekly touch-ups are okay as it won't damage the enamel.
The advantage to having a dentist do the teeth bleaching is because they can use a higher percentage of bleach so the process happens faster.  With in-office bleaching, within one hour patients will get results that could take up to a week with over the counter products, Dr. Briggs says.
According to Dr. Briggs, bleaching does not work on materials used to restore teeth so if a patient has crowns, bridges or porcelain, the color cannot be changed.  He adds that patients often come in with whtie fillings or bonding composite materials and while that won't bleach, it is easy to replace.
Teeth bleaching is safe with kids in that it won't damage the enamel but as kids have larger pulp space, where the nerves and blood vessels are, they tend to have more sensitivity.  Dr. Briggs does not do teeth bleaching on baby teeth as those teeth are already lighter than the adult teeth that come in but on teenagers, there is increased sensitivity than adults because the pulp space hasn't fully formed.
Tetracycline staining is something inside the tooth and not a surface enamel defect.  Teeth whitening will lighten them, Briggs says, but the teeth will still have shades of gray or lines in the teeth that are internal and cannot be changed.
Dr. Briggs says a good time for teeth whitening is when you're already having something else done, like Invisalign, where you already have the trays that you're wearing for 24 hours a day.  The take home bleach is added to the tray, so as you're straightening you're teeth, you can lighten them at the same time.
Dr. Briggs feels the whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are just a way of marketing the product, saying it can remove surface stains.  He adds that there is a difference in a product that actually bleaches the tooth or enamel, not just whitens.
Dr. Bradley Briggs is a family and cosmetic dentist with Briggs Family Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona and is a dental expert with Dentist News Network.

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Reader Comments (3)

Although there are over-the-counter products used to whiten the teeth at home, many people choose to have their teeth whitened professionally. Professional tooth whitening is performed by a certified dentist or dental assistant, and never by a salon or other non-dental clinic.

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWorkwear

A great blog to have. Simply helped me a lot when it comes to the overall working structure of Laser teeth whitening system and structure.

January 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterWings Deal

Great post regarding the laser teeth whitening. It has helped a lot regarding the laser teeth whitening. Really helped a lot when it comes to getting the tips regarding laser teeth whitening.

February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterWings Deal

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