Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is, by far, the most popular cosmetic dental procedure. Dental Whitening procedures fit within almost any budget and the results are quick. Technically, there is a difference between teeth whitening and teeth bleaching. Whitening means to brighten your teeth by removing stain caused from staining foods and beverages (berries, coffee, wine, tea, etc). This stain removal whitens teeth back to their naturally white stage. Bleaching refers to lightening a tooth from the inside-out. Bleaching brightens the inside (dentin) of the tooth, thereby making the whole natural tooth whiter.

Whitening removes stains, via polishing of the surface of the tooth (this is why some over-the-counter toothpastes can claim “whitening”, while bleaching sends peroxide into the tooth to whiten the organic material inside.

Who is a good candidate for Teeth whitening ?

Almost everyone is a candidate for teeth whitening or teeth bleaching. However, some dark teeth are much more resistant to the dental whitening procedures. Teeth that are discolored with dark gray or reddish shades are the most resistant to teeth whitening; an example of this type of dark shade appears in teeth affected by tetracycline. Still, even these dark teeth will whiten to some degree with long-term compliance. Depending on the results you desire, whitening may be an option for dark (gray/red) teeth. Otherwise porcelain veneers are an excellent option and allow you to choose how white you want your smile to be.

What is the material used for  teeth whitening ?

Peroxide (either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) is the agent used in professional dental whitening procedures. The peroxide enters the teeth and whitens the inside layers (dentin) of the teeth.

What types of Professional whitening systems are best ?

At Cross Dental, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry — this includes whitening technology. We offer 2 systems:  in-office whitening and take home  custom trays for whitening.

1) 1-Hour In-Office Whitening: “Boost”


Opalasence(TM) Whitening uses a high-concentration hydrogen peroxide gel that absorbs quickly and thoroughly into the teeth, whitening teeth from the inside-out. For several years, it has proved (by independent professional dental studies and publications) to be the most effective in-office dental whitening procedure available today. How does it work?

We place protective barriers and coatings on your lips, cheeks, and gums so that the strong peroxide is isolated to contact only your teeth. After two or three cycles of the peroxide gel placed on your teeth, your teeth will get shades whiter in just one hour.

It takes an average of 3 in-office dental whitening procedures to get your teeth to the whitest shade your teeth can attain. It does not work better than the trays or strips, it just works faster. This system is great for someone who just can’t follow through with wearing trays or strips for an hour-a-day. Basically, we do it for you so you don’t have to. For people with sensitive teeth, this system may exacerbate the sensitivity for a few days after the procedure. We do have some medications you can use after your in-office dental whitening in order to reduce some of the sensitivity. For patients with extremely sensitive teeth, lower-strength strips or trays may be a better option.

If you don’t want to “mess” with the trays, and you prefer a more “instant” result, In office whitening might be the perfect teeth-whitening solution for you.

2) Custom Trays: “Take-Home Trays”

Whitening with custom trays is the system that has been most widely used over time. It is considered the gold standard for teeth whitening. It entails us making models of your teeth and fabricating a clear plastic tray that fits perfectly to your teeth. You are given syringes of whitening gel to place in your trays. Then you wear your trays with the gel in them for an hour each day or — if you are able — at night while you sleep. The peroxide gel enters your teeth and, though the same process as other professional whitening systems, whitens your teeth from the inside-out. One of the benefits of having these trays is that when you run out of gel, you only need to purchase more gel syringes- not a whole new system. So, it’s great for touch-ups.

How long do whitening results last?

The best answer to this question is…It depends. Some people smoke. Some people drink coffee, tea and red wine every single day. Some people drink only an occasional coffee drink. We refer to these staining foods, beverages and habits because they stain your teeth. A good rule of thumb is that if it will stain a white shirt, it will stain your teeth. So, if you never do things that stain your teeth, then your whitening results will last a long time. And, if you do, the results will more quickly fade over time. The bright side (no pun intended) is that after a teeth whitening (bleaching) procedure, the insides of your teeth will not likely ever return to the dark shade where they began. And, we have touch-ups and whitening polishes (all quite inexpensive) that will quickly and easily zap your teeth right back to their whitest state.

How long will it take to whiten my teeth?

The answer depends on which system you are using, how dark your teeth are to start with, and how white you want to get your teeth. If you are using an at-home system, the typical systems require you to whiten every day for 10 days to 2 weeks. If your teeth are very dark to begin with, it may take several weeks of wearing trays while you sleep. Finally, if you are using an in-office system, it takes – on average – 3 procedures to reach maximum brightness.  Sometimes, patients will use the in-office dental whitening procedure as a jump-start to an at-home teeth whitening procedure in order to maximize the results. You can expect (again, on average) that with an Cross Dental professional whitening system your teeth will get 3-4 shades whiter than where they were to begin with.

How white will my teeth get?

On average, with a whitening system, you can expect your teeth to get approximately 3-4 shades whiter. If your teeth are already very bright to start with, they may only get a couple of shades lighter (there is a limit to how white natural teeth can get). Up to this maximum whiteness (or plateau), the more you whiten, the whiter your teeth will get. For people who want their teeth whiter than nature will allow (or people who want the really results right now, conservative porcelain veneers (even no-prep veneers) are an excellent treatment option. Porcelain veneers are not limited to natures “plateaus”, and they give you the freedom to choose any shade you desire for your smile.