Tooth Whitening Options  

If you wanted to escape the cold Michigan winter for warm, sunny Florida, you could get there by car, bus, or plane. If you want whiter teeth, there are three popular options to arrive to your destination: over the counter products, custom tray bleaching, and in-office "power bleaching". All use the same active ingredient --peroxide. What differs is the concentration or strength of the peroxide and the time and manner that it''s in contact with the teeth.

OTC products: These can be purchased at the drug store or supermarket. Crest "White Strips" would be an example. The peroxide is held close to the teeth by the white strip, which is a transparent membrane similar to Scotch Tape or Saran Wrap. It is a "one size fits all" product, so the results are not as predictably successful in all cases.

Custom tray bleaching: This is the method we currently believe provides the most predictable results, with the fewest side effects, at the best overall cost. After examining your teeth and gums to make sure there are no obstacles to the bleaching process, we take impressions of your teeth and then we create custom fitted trays that fit your mouth perfectly and comfortably. The trays are then filled at home with Opalescence gel and worn nightly, or for 1-2 hours during the day. Results are usually apparent within a week. These same custom trays can be used periodically for touch-up or maintenance whitening-we recommend 1-2 treatments every 6 months, ideally after your regular professional teeth cleanings. Opalescence comes in three different strengths, so we can use the slower, gentler gel for people who have more sensitive teeth, and we can use the stronger gel for darker, less sensitive teeth. The custom fitted trays, along with the professional strength Opalescence gel and our professional guidance makes for more predictable success with fewer false starts and setbacks.

Power bleaching: This method is entirely carried out in the dental office. The bleaching gel is very strong and is directly applied to the teeth by the dentist. This is the quickest way to whiten your teeth, but it is also the most expensive. Higher strengths of bleaching gel are also more likely to cause tooth sensitivity.

For more information on our office's bleaching system, check out these frequently asked Q&As:

For further information on tooth whitening in general and Opalescence in particular, check out