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YOUR LOOK thesmiledr Dr. Mark Falco, Smile Design Studio Keeping the Shine A proper teeth whitening job can be a very big investment, so it’s vital to protect it with responsible care and regular cleaning roper teeth care includes good hygiene and regular dentist visits to maintain your newly whitened teeth from unsightly staining. Home touch-up gels are often dispensed with custom-fitting trays by your dentist’s office to be used to occasionally boost the whitening effect as time and age progress. Tougher teeth discolorations al- ways require further home whitening utilizing these trays to con- tinue moving the bleaching process to a more desired result. The at-home method of teeth whitening works best for slight- to-moderate discoloration and an immediate change is not re- quired. A daily 15-30 minute application of bleaching gel within trays will produce a desired result in 1-4 weeks, depending on the degree of shade change sought. P GEL TOGETHER Bleaching gel is placed within custom-fitted trays that fit over the teeth. Custom trays can only be produced from molds of your existing teeth. This requires a day or two of fabrication after molds are taken to deliver these trays to you for take home. This at-home teeth whitening regimen will normally result in a 3-8 shade increase in brightness within a 2-week period of daily use. The cost of this procedure can be about $150-600. The “over-the-counter” method of at-home whitening can produce varied results. Bleaching trays provided with gels that are sold over the counter do not have as high a concentration of per- oxides in them as the in-office treatment. Since these trays are not fabricated from molds of your existing teeth, variations in whiten- ing may occur, with some areas of teeth whitening better than others. Changes of 2-4 shades can result when used with a high 74 PAGEANTRY concentration of peroxide. This method works best for people who have nicely colored teeth without heavy discoloration who want to see more brilliance in their smile. STRIPPING DOWN Whitening strips work without trays. They contain lower con- centrations of peroxide and incorporate adhesives to stick over the teeth. They are applied twice daily for 30 minutes. Only the tooth surfaces covered by the strips whiten. Results can be 1-4 shades lighter in about 2 weeks. Again, this works best on healthy and minimally discolored teeth. The cost of these strips range from $35-75. Whitening pens and other direct gel applications for teeth de- liver peroxide in low concentrations that can lighten teeth 1-3 shades. This process, however, can take up to 4 weeks when used daily. Healthy and minimally discolored teeth favor better results. Usually these applications are used for touch-up treatment after any of the previous methods have been completed. These products range in price from $10-100. Whitening toothpastes and rinses do not stay on teeth long enough to actually whiten the teeth beyond one shade even when peroxides are part of the ingredients. These products are used, at best, to help maintain any whitening already finished. DON’T BE SO SENSITIVE All applications of peroxide gels or solutions to the teeth can create mild sensitivity in a few cases that are very temporary in na- ture. Too much gel, especially from higher concentrations that are placed inside the bleaching trays, can cause mild and temporary