A simple way to whiten

Dec. 1, 2016

People have been trying many methods to whiten their teeth. There are several over-the-counter treatments, which include rinses, swabs, toothpastes, and home trays, as well as various stick-on bands. Billions of dollars are spent, and people move from one process to another. In some areas, bleaching “technicians” apply whitening products in commercial venues, hair salons, and even cruise ships. Of course, dental offices have professional products and processes, including in-office sessions. Some use bright lights, and others use custom trays in the office and/or take-home products.

There have been frustrations with both in-office and home bleaching products. In the office, a chair and staff member is necessary for the duration of the process, which can be as long as an hour. There is a lot of prep, including covering the soft tissue with gels, creams, or light-cured masks. Sometimes elaborate vacuum, retraction, and isolation systems are necessary. When lights are used, facial and eye protection are important. If a custom tray system is to be used, there is an appointment for impressions, and in offices that are not using a digital system, models and trays have to be prepared. If sent to a lab, an additional expense and time lag is added to the mix, removing a spontaneous decision. Due to the time and process, the fees are in the hundreds of dollars, and in some procedures the cost can be more than $1,000. These systems all work well, and offices have to determine which are the best fit.

The home products that are directly applied to the teeth, although easy to place, are often difficult to keep in contact with the teeth for the required time. The rinses and pastes require an especially longer number of days or weeks, as the active material does not stay in contact with the teeth for an extended time. The trays and strips seem to hold the active ingredients in a better intimacy with the enamel, but some are more difficult to keep in place than others.

The CAO Group has introduced a novel idea for both in-office and home whitening. They have introduced Sheer White! In-Office teeth whitening strips. These are wax-like strips that are thin, moldable, and easy to apply. They adapt to teeth to deliver 20% hydrogen peroxide. When properly positioned with the top of the strip approximately at the top of the enamel, no gingival protection is necessary. Due to the adaption of the material, there is no leakage and no slippage while the strip is in place. The strip covers both the labial and lingual tooth structure.

Here is a simple case that occurred in my practice. A patient who had come in for a dental hygiene appointment asked about bleaching her teeth. The hygienist said that if she was able to stay in the office for about another 30 minutes after the hygiene visit, we could do it today. She jumped at the chance. The in-office application took about one to two minutes, which includes time to take a prewhitening photo. The hygienist who recommended this knew that the process was quick, and knew she had the time available. The photo was taken and the package of Sheer White! In-Office was opened. The wax-like strip was placed on the upper and lower teeth in accordance with the instructions, and the patient manipulated it to feel tight. The patient was then sent out to the waiting room for 30 minutes. The patient was able to speak normally, and she was told she could even drink with the strips on, although clear or cold liquid should be an obvious choice.

After 30 minutes had passed, the patient was instructed to remove the strips. She was a bit worried about this, so one of the dental assistants met her in an open treatment room at the sink. There was no reason for her to sit in the dental chair. She was given a toothbrush and toothpaste, and the assistant questioned her about any sensitivity. A postprocedure photo was taken. The result was noticeable to us and the patient, but she wanted to know if they could get any brighter. She was made aware that there would be a small residual effect. An additional increase in the result over the next few hours would occur. However, we gave her a follow-up home kit, Sheer White! take home strips. Sheer White! take-home strips have a much lower percentage of peroxide. They can be worn from 1–4 hours daily. Again, while wearing the strips, she was told she would be able to talk and function normally, as one can if wearing an orthodontic aligner.

It is recommended that offices purchase a few of these kits and offer the treatment to team members. This will give them practice with the quick procedure. It also will give them the ability to communicate to the patient the ease of the procedure and show the patient the results. More information and a free sample of Sheer White! Take-Home is available at caogroup.com/sheerwhite.html.


The economics of the Sheer White! teeth-whitening system