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Questions about Teeth Whitening

Q. How Are Teeth Whitened?
Enamel, the first layer of tooth surface, is actually semi-translucent, or clear. The layer underneath the enamel, known as dentin, is typically yellow, but may be gray, brown or black. This hue is what is seen penetrating through the enamel. In order to whiten the dentin, a peroxide solution is placed on the enamel. This process opens the pores of the enamel, allowing the solution to reach the layer of dentin. The solution will then begin to lighten the dentin, resulting in the appearance of whiter teeth. By using a light to activate the hydrogen peroxide, the whitening process takes as little as one hour.

Q. What causes teeth discoloration?
There are many causes. The most common include genetics, aging and consumption of staining substances, tetracycline (antibiotic) staining, excessive fluoride, and old fillings. Anything that can stain a white shirt can stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and smoking stain your teeth as well as the less obvious things such as chocolate, berries, soy sauce, etc.

Q: How does ModernSmile teeth whitening system compare to other systems?
ModernSmile offers the most advanced technology available in teeth whitening. We use a hydrogen peroxide gel which is activated by the first patented laser whitening light delivered to the dental market. We use the only whitening light that features a laser diode for best results without sensitivity. The light emits no harmful UV rays, making it much safer than other heat-activated lights on the market.

The light activates the hydrogen peroxide gel and then removes the stains out of the teeth bringing your teeth back to their natural shade of white. Individual results vary but during your consultation Dr. Wachs will give you an approximation of how white your teeth will become.

Q: How does it work?
Dr. Wachs will first examine your teeth and gums for good oral health. Then, as you relax in the chair, the whitening gel is applied to your teeth and the patented light will be positioned over your teeth to activate the gel. As you relax, listen to music or nap, your teeth will lighten and your natural whiteness will be restored in just 1 hour through a completely safe process of oxidation. What would take weeks to accomplish with at home trays or strips is completed in one hour at our spa.

Q: Is it safe and will it hurt?
The procedure is completely safe. The whitening procedure will not damage enamel or existing fillings. The primary ingredient in the gel is hydrogen peroxide, which has been safely used in teeth whitening for over 100 years and is recognized as an effective whitening ingredient by the dental community. Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that teeth whitening under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure. The whitening system we use has a desensitizing agent which delivers optimal comfort and sensitivity relief for patients. Because we are using a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, we do also recommend using Sensodyne toothpaste for 1-2 weeks prior to the treatment. If you have teeth sensitivity, in general, you may consider taking advil or tylenol one hour prior to the treatment. The majority of our clients experience no pain or sensitivity after the professional teeth whitening treatment. A very small percentage of patients may experience a minor dull “ache” following the procedure which is generally gone within 24 hours. Taking some sort of analgesic almost always resolves the feeling.

Q: How white will my teeth get?
Your results of course will vary as your starting point may be different and everyone’s teeth respond a little differently, but in virtually all cases, the results are dramatic. Ultimately, the goal will be to achieve your optimum, natural whiteness. During the consultation, Dr. Wachs will personally analyze your teeth and provide you with an approximation on how white your teeth will become. Even severe discoloration can be treated to yield great results.

Q: How long does it last?
The long-term results depend primarily on the individual. We are not asking you to change your dietary habits but rather maintain with regular professional dental care and use of the maintenance products which can help maintain your whiteness for a couple of years. To keep your teeth looking their best, we recommend brushing twice daily, flossing and using the BriteSmile Professional Maintenance products. These are professional formula products designed specifically to keep your teeth their brightest.

Some people prefer to do the whitening treatment more frequently and may choose to come in for touch ups over the year. As with any other regimen, you must follow up at home to make the whitening last longer. It is comparable to losing weight. Once you have lost weight you still must continue to exercise and eat healthy to keep the results.

Q: Is this procedure for everyone?
Virtually anyone wanting to whiten his or her teeth can benefit from using our one hour whitening procedure- including people with severe food, coffee, tobacco or tetracycline stains. ModernSmile recommends that you not do this process while nursing or pregnant or wearing braces and you must be 13 years or older. These factors will be reviewed by Dr. Wachs at your initial consultation.

Q. Can I have the whitening done if I have fillings or crowns in my mouth?
Yes you can. The whitening can remove the surface stains from your dental work and bring them back to the original color your dentist placed them in as. If you have bondings or crowns in your mouth that were placed a long time ago, they will appear brighter after the surface stains have been removed from the teeth whitening procedure. Dr. Wachs will examine your smile and determine if you would be a good candidate.

Q. Are there any restrictions with eating before or after the whitening procedure?
Before the procedure you can eat whatever you want but after the whitening, we recommend to eat and drink only clear and white foods for 24 hours. We will give you a list of do’s and don’ts to follow after the procedure.

Q. Do I need to get a teeth cleaning before the whitening treatment?
ModernSmile recommends that you have had a cleaning at least in the last year.

Q. How is this treatment different from the whitening treatments I see in the malls?
The mall whitenings do not have a licensed dentist performing the procedure. They use a lower concentration of gel, therefore making the procedure less effective and it lasting less time than the professional strength teeth whitening. The mall whitenings also do not cover your gums or lips which can cause gum or lip irritation. Professional teeth whitening should always be done under the supervision of a dentist because a dentist assesses patients and decides on the advisability of bleaching, and prediction of outcome for each patient. Furthermore, the dentist will have knowledge of the oral anatomy and principles of patient care. The American Dental Association agrees that teeth whitening should be performed by a licensed dentist.

Questions about Invisalign

Q. What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a series of removable, virtually invisible aligners that are custom-created utilizing leading-edge computer technology. Using advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology, Invisalign depicts your complete treatment plan, from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position. Then a series of clear aligners are custom-made for your teeth – and your teeth only – to move them little by little. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next in the series, until the final position of your teeth is achieved.

Q. How long is the treatment?
It depends. Every case is different depending on your needs. Most cases are on average approximately 12 months The length of treatment depends on the severity of your case and can only be determined by Dr. Wachs. However, the average case takes about 12 months.

Q. Do I have to wear the aligners all the time? How often do I have to wear my aligners?
We recommend you wear them about 20- 22 hours a day and only remove them to eat, brush and floss your teeth.

Q: How often must I see the Invisalign doctor?
Dr. Wachs will schedule regular appointments – usually about once every four to six weeks. The goal of these visits is to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned.

Q: Will Invisalign treatment be painful?
While Invisalign moves your teeth without the pain and anxiety of metal braces, some people will experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It’s also a sign that Invisalign is working, as it moves your teeth to their final destination. This discomfort typically goes away in a couple of days.

Q: Are there restrictions on what I can eat while in treatment?
No. Thanks to the removable nature of the aligners, you can eat and drink whatever you want while in treatment. In fact, you’re required to remove your aligners to eat and drink. So, unlike undergoing traditional treatment using wires and brackets, there is no need to restrict your consumption of any of your favorite foods and snacks unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Also, it is important that you brush your teeth after each meal and prior to re-inserting your aligners to maintain fresh breath and proper hygiene.
For more information about Invisalign visit their website at