This is the procedure of making teeth whiter, and therefore more attractive. Our office recommends an "at home" tray method to be used by the patients at their convenience.
The tray method involves having impressions taken from which custom vinyl trays are made. A carbamide peroxide gel is placed in these trays and the trays with gel are worn for about 3 hours, or overnight. The entire process takes two weeks of daily use with maintenance of whitened teeth being done every several months. Our regular patients who are on a whitening program usually have done the initial two week treatment followed by "touching up" for a couple of days after each of their six-month check up appointments.
The tray method is recommended for badly stained teeth, such as tetracycline, cola/teas, and smoking stains. It is a convenient method as it allows the patient to do the treatment at home at their convenience. For patients who have fillings in their front teeth or are looking to change the shape of their teeth, this method is not ideal as the white filling material does not bleach and the treatment does not affect the shape of the patient's teeth.
Composite veneers are dental procedures in which composite resin is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. A composite material close to, or lighter than the shade of your natural teeth is placed over the teeth to be veneered using a bonding agent. The material is then "cured", shaped and polished to give the patient a revised tooth shape, if that is wanted and to also lighten the shade of the teeth.
Composite veneers are ideal for patients who have existing restored areas that may be stained, or areas of decay that need to be fixed. This procedure is fairly inexpensive, done in the office, and are easy to maintain. This procedure also may or may not require the patient be numbed depending on the initial condition of the teeth to be veneered.
Lumineers are an indirect technique involving two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared and impressions are taken. In two to three weeks the Lumineers are back from the laboratory and an appointment will be made to have them bonded on. The laboratory fabricated Lumineers are made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are very esthetic.
While more costly, the Lumineers are made in the laboratory to fit the patient's teeth exactly, are bonded on, and can change both the shape and the shade of the teeth.
Little is done to the natural tooth with regards to tooth preparation and the discomfort level of the treatment is also minimal.