This information is provided to give the patient insight into professional take home whitening procedure.  Tooth whitening is designed to lighten the color of your teeth.  As in all health/dental care, there are limitations and risks.  These are seldom serious enough to discourage you from having your teeth whitened, but should be considered when deciding to have treatment.  Significant whitening can be achieved in the vast majority of cases, but the results cannot be guaranteed. 


Candidates for Whitening

Almost anyone is a candidate for tooth whitening.  However, people with dark yellow or yellow-brown teeth tend to whiten better than people with gray or bluish-gray teeth.  Multi-colored teeth, especially if stained due to tetracycline, will need long term treatment and compliance.  Any current restoration you have, such as fillings, porcelain crowns, onlays, and inlays cannot be whitened. 

Types of Whitening

  1. Opalescence GO- This process can be done anywhere and anytime.  The process involves wearing a pre-filled easy-to-use disposable tray.  At home you will place the tray in your mouth, adjust the inner tray and wear for 15-30 minutes once a day.  You should continue to treatment for about 7-10 days, depending on the degree of whitening desired.  Opalescence GO is simple and easier to use than supermarket products and the prescription strength comes at an affordable price.  The disadvantage of Opalescence GO is it is not custom made for your mouth and the success of the treatment depends on your commitment.


Your Responsibilities


  1. Wearing Your Whitening Tray-If you choose home whitening, it will only be effective if you conscientiously wear the tray for the prescribed time for one to two weeks or more, in some cases.
  2. Complications-If you experience any severe discomfort or other problems, discontinue the whitening and contact the office immediately.  Most sensitivity is usually transient and disappears after one to several days.
  3. Dentist Prescription-Please follow the instructions and directions given to you by the dentist and staff.  Following the instructions will prevent any complications.


Potential Side Effects

  1. Tooth Sensitivity- During the first 24 hours following whitening, some patients experience transient sensitivity.  The sensitivity is usually mild if your teeth are not normally sensitive.    With some whitening, it may be necessary for you to reduce the amount of time you are wearing the whitening trays and in some cases stop using them for several days to resolve the sensitivity.

However, if your teeth are normally sensitive or continue to be sensitive, whitening may make your teeth more sensitive for an extended period of time.  There are sensitive toothpaste and gels (UltraEz) to help with the sensitivity.


  1. Gum Irritation-This is a result of a small amount of solution coming in to contact with the gums.  This can cause temporary inflammation and white areas.  A tingling sensation on your gums may occur.  This will resolve itself in a few hours or less.  Do not push on the UltraFit tray, doing so can cause the whitening gel to come in contact with your gums. 

Completion of Treatment

Level of Whitening-There is no totally reliable way to predict how light your teeth will whiten.   With home whitening, it may take two, four or even longer of repeated applications to achieve desired results.  Whitening is a process not an event.  Everyone responds differently to whitening.

There are no guarantees as to the degree of how white your teeth will get.  The amount of whiteness varies with each individual.

Relapse-Following completion of whitening, pigments found in food and drinks will restain your teeth, commonly called whitening relapse.  You may use daily whitening toothpaste to help prevent.  Relapse is natural and should be very gradual.  As you age your teeth darken, it is part of the aging process, doing a touch-up when needed will help prevent the relapse.