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Tooth Fairy

Dr. Olivia Francisco gives us the 411 on teeth bleaching.
Tooth Fairy Dr. Olivia Francisco gives us the 411 on teeth bleaching.

You're never fully dressed without a smile, that's true, but your megawatt grin can lose its luster if you neglect to keep it bright and polished. Not only do you stand out when you're beaming, but a whiter smile can instantly add a youthful glow to your look.

Take some cues from Dr. Olivia Francisco and find out what to avoid, how to maintain, and how beneficial bleaching is. —Belle Rodolfo

 Reprinted from Preview October 2010 as told to Agoo Bengzon.


What causes teeth discolorations?

There are a number of culprits–the food we eat (those with coloring), the drinks we take in (iced tea, red wine, soda), and habitual smoking all contribute to the staining of teeth.

Why can’t these stains be removed with brushing alone?

Mechanical brushing can only remove attached food and stains. Whatever goes through our mouths accumulates and forms a pellicle film that coats the enamel of your teeth. This film is very difficult to penetrate.


What is a typical teeth-bleaching experience like?

Before the actual bleaching is done, a protective barrier is first applied on gums. Afterwards, a 15-35% hydrogen peroxide gel is applied, then activated by a high intensity laser to start off the bleaching chemical reaction.

What can we expect afterwards?

The process can achieve results of whiteness about 4-8 shades lighter, depending on the starting shade of the patient. Also, most patients experience short-term sensitivity, but this should go away after 24 hours. I recommend using an at-home bleaching kit with much lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide to help maximize the results. This can be used for 3 days after your procedure at the clinic.

 How long do results last?

Anywhere between a year to three years. Ultimately, it will depend on your lifestyle. I recommend staying away from food that contain lots of colorants and using a straw when drinking beverages such a cola or iced tea to help keep teeth white longer.

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For more information, contact Dr. Olivia Francisco at The Dental Place.

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