Dr. Bob Merrill
112 S. Stone St.
Augusta, WI 54722
(715) 286-2960


This is a bleaching case in progress of teeth with extreme tetracycline internal staining

What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens discolorations of enamel and dentin. The system uses a mild gel retained in a custom-fitted appliance that is worn over your teeth.

What causes tooth discoloration?
There are many causes. External stains may be caused from aging, consumption of coffee, tea, colas and smoking. Internal stains may be from the use of tetracycline (or some other medications) during the time when the teeth were forming. Ironically, some of the older toothpastes that have advertised "for whiter teeth" in the past were too abrasive, and eroded the enamel (the whitest part of the tooth) actually making the teeth more yellow over the years.

Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
Almost everyone. However, there are some cases where treatment may not be effective or may take longer than usual. A thorough examination and diagnosis before bleaching is important. In general, tooth lightening is ideal for patients who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and would like a brighter smile.

Here is another example of professional bleaching. The change in the upper teeth is apparent even after just one week of wearing custon trays and professional strength bleaching gel

Is Home Bleaching safe?
Research indicates that whitening teeth with 10 to 16% carbamide or hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is completely safe for your teeth and gums.

How does it work?
A bleaching gel is placed in a thin bleaching tray made by your dentist that fits over the teeth. As the active ingredient in the gel, carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, is broken down oxygen enters the enamel and dentin and bleaches them. The tooth color is made lighter.

How long does it take?
Results are usually seen within the first week. For most patients, maximum results occur over the next 14-21 days. In rare cases of extremely dark teeth (tetracycline or other internal stains), it is not unusual to require several months for maximum results.

Are there any side effects?
Some people have experience increased tooth sensitivity to cold during treatment. Others have reported discomfort in the gums or a sore throat. These symptoms always disappear within 1-3 days after stopping or completion of treatment. Many of the latest professional bleaching formulas contain ingredients that will prevent tooth sensitivity during the bleaching process.

How long do the results last?
The teeth will remain lighter, but some patients may need periodic re-bleaching once or twice a year

This dark (intrinsic stain) tooth, after having had root canal therapy, was lightened in about 3-4 visits.

This dark bottom tooth was lightened in a single visit.


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