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Teeth Whitening

Tooth discoloration can happen as a result of many influences, including trauma, the consumption of certain foods and beverages, the use of tobacco products, and even the natural process of aging. Fortunately, Scripps Center for Dental Care offers an extensive range of teeth whitening options that are designed to quickly and effectively enhance the brightness of your smile. To add to your convenience, we have in-office, at-home, and combination procedures that allow you to whiten your teeth according to your preferences. Our San Diego cosmetic dentist prioritizes your experience from start to finish, and we will strive to minimize any tooth sensitivity during the whitening process. In fact, many of our advanced products are specifically designed to prevent sensitivity before it sets in. As a result, you can enjoy the most comfortable and effective teeth whitening possible.

For more information about teeth whitening, please follow the links below or contact us today for a consultation.

Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Natural Teeth Whitening

While whitening products purchased at pharmacies may be more accessible for patients who wish to brighten their smile, these over-the-counter products simply do not rival the effectiveness of professional teeth bleaching treatments. Toothpastes, rinses, and whitening strips that claim to lighten your teeth typically do not have the power to remove any discoloration beyond simple surface stains. Since most tooth staining penetrates the dentin, which is the innermost layer of the tooth behind the enamel, over-the-counter whitening techniques often do not create a noticeable difference in your smile—even after months of religious daily use. The same is typically true of natural teeth lightening trends, such as charcoal teeth whitening and DIY teeth whitening. These methods are not currently recommended by the American Dental Association, and the use of charcoal is even associated with the premature thinning of one’s natural enamel.

In contrast, professional teeth whitening from a qualified dentist has been proven to effectively lighten the teeth by several shades in as little as one treatment depending on the bleaching system utilized. These whitening options have the power to reach even the deepest discoloration in the inner dentin, allowing patients to erase years of staining and natural wear. Plus, professional teeth whitening is performed under the supervision of a cosmetic dentist to help ensure your whitening regimen is safe and effective for your oral health.


Teeth whitening can be one of the safest, most effective ways of achieving a smile makeover. Over time, teeth begin to lose their natural luster. This is often simply the effect of wear and tear and aging; however, staining agents such as coffee, tea, tobacco, soda, and red wine can also diminish a smile’s radiant glow. Fortunately, this sort of discoloration can be treated through teeth whitening.

At Scripps Center for Dental Care, we are proud to offer our patients BriteSmile® teeth whitening, the premier in-office teeth whitening system. In a single appointment, the BriteSmile® system can brighten teeth by up to nine shades, producing stunning results that can last for years with proper oral hygiene habits and regular dental check-ups. The BriteSmile® procedure is generally considered to be safe, reliable, and highly effective.

If your smile has lost some of its natural vibrancy, we have just the solution for you. If you would like to learn more about BriteSmile® teeth whitening, please contact our practice today.

About BriteSmile® Teeth Whitening

The BriteSmile® system combines a 15-percent hydrogen peroxide whitening gel with a revolutionary “blue light” that allows us to “set” the teeth whitening in less time than was previously possible. In San Diego, there are only a handful of certified BriteSmile® teeth whitening practitioners, and the team at Scripps Center for Dental Care are proud to be among the few who are specially certified to use this highly effective technique.

When you come into our office for your BriteSmile® session, one of our certified team members will discuss your personal tooth whitening goals with you. It is important to remember that teeth that are too white may look artificial, so our dentists will help you decide on a level of whiteness that will give you the most natural-looking results.

The treatment should produce little to no discomfort and requires only a little more than an hour to complete. Most patients find the whitening session to be relaxing and pleasant, and they are thrilled with the immediate, dramatic results they are able to achieve. All our patients have to do is sit back and relax while the BriteSmile® teeth whitening gel does all the work.

One of the primary concerns associated with other teeth whitening treatments is heightened tooth sensitivity. The BriteSmile® system reduces this through its proprietary blue-light technology. This technology makes it possible for a smaller amount of hydrogen peroxide than is normally used in whitening gels to produce extraordinary results, more safely, comfortably and consistently.

As with most of the cosmetic dentistry procedures offered at our office, BriteSmile® teeth whitening can be performed on its own or in combination with other procedures as part of a comprehensive smile design plan.

ZOOM!® Teeth Whitening

ZOOM!® teeth whitening can clear away set-in stains by penetrating deeply into the tooth dentin and enamel where most discoloration resides. This procedure can be completed in our well-equipped office and takes approximately one hour to complete. Additionally, we offer a take-home option as well, so you can whiten your teeth from the convenience of your own home and at your leisure. ZOOM!® whitening makes it possible to brighten your teeth up to eight shades, depending on the state of your teeth prior to bleaching. This technique uses a special low-intensity light and light-activated gel that delivers oxygen to your teeth, breaking up the stains and instantly leaving behind a brighter, whiter, more beautiful smile.

If you love the results and want to maintain the effect, we can provide you with ZOOM!® whitening kits and custom-fit dental trays to perform occasional touch-up treatments as desired from the comfort and convenience of your home.

KöR® Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System

Designed to be a two-part teeth whitening system, KöR® Whitening includes both in-office and at-home components to achieve the level of brightness you desire. Furthermore, the KöR® process helps to prevent sensitivity before it develops. The science behind KöR® lies in its commitment to the highest-quality ingredients maintained at their maximum potency. Additionally, the KöR® custom-fit trays seal out saliva that can break down the peroxide that whitens teeth. As a result, you can achieve more luminous, youthful-looking teeth in less time and with less discomfort than ever before, even in cases of previously untreatable staining.

There are several KöR® teeth whitening systems, and the right one for you will depend on your unique needs, goals, and lifestyle preferences. During your initial consultation, we will recommend the approach that best suits your desired outcome and level of staining.

Internal Whitening

A non-vital tooth, such as one that has undergone a root canal, can begin to discolor and darken over time. To counteract this cosmetic concern, internal whitening or bleaching can be used to brighten the tooth so it blends in with the surrounding teeth. During this procedure, a bleaching agent will be placed into the empty and cleaned pulp space located inside the tooth, causing the tooth’s appearance to gradually lighten in color. This process is performed in multiple stages, usually occurring over the course of one to four dental visits. Your individual needs and goals will determine how many appointments will be necessary to achieve the optimal outcome. Internal whitening is one of the most conservative ways to address tooth discoloration in this particular situation. Other treatment methods can include porcelain veneers and dental crowns. These techniques can also strengthen and protect the non-vital tooth, and therefore may be the best approach for some patients. To help you make the best decision for your desired outcome, we will discuss all your options during your initial consultation.

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Take Home Teeth Whitening

In addition to our in-office treatments, several of our professional bleaching procedures have the option of at-home teeth whitening. Whether you prefer to complete your smile enhancement from home or you would like to boost the effect of your in-office procedure, we can help you find the right technique for your needs and goals. Additionally, we can create custom-made dental trays that can be used for maintenance sessions in the future. These high-quality trays can be used multiple times and offer enhanced comfort and results when compared to generic one-size-fits-all trays found at your local pharmacy.

How to Manage Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

Mild to moderate tooth sensitivity may affect certain patients after their procedure, which is often a natural response to the whitening agents used to eradicate discoloration. If you’re prone to tooth sensitivity, any discomfort should subside naturally soon after your treatment. Until then, the following tips may help you curb sensitivity and enjoy a more comfortable treatment experience the next time you whiten your teeth:

  • Utilize toothpastes and rinses designed to treat tooth sensitivity, such as Sensodyne® products
  • Clean your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Avoid eating very hot or cold foods while the teeth remain sensitive
  • Reduce how often you whiten your teeth
  • Use less whitening product if discomfort persists

Fortunately, the teeth bleaching options offered at Scripps are already designed to reduce as much tooth sensitivity after your treatment as possible. If you’re considering professional teeth whitening but are worried about potential sensitivity following the procedure, one of our dentists would be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns.

Are There Alternatives to Teeth Whitening?

While whitening treatments are certainly the fastest and easiest ways to attain a more luminous smile, some types of discoloration may require alternative techniques to achieve a lighter tooth shade. Other treatment methods that can conceal deep staining include the use of porcelain veneers and dental crowns. These restorations can strengthen and protect a previously treated tooth in addition to rejuvenating its color, thereby acting as the best approach to treatment for certain patients.

For example, patients with severe staining may benefit more from porcelain veneers rather than teeth whitening. These thin porcelain shells can be placed over the fronts of teeth to conceal deep discoloration and other aesthetic flaws. They are custom-shaded to match the color of your surrounding teeth, and the enduring porcelain material is resistant to most staining agents. Likewise, dental crowns are considered more durable restorations that are custom-fabricated to perfectly match the shade of the rest of your smile. Because these porcelain “caps” are designed to cover a damaged tooth, dental crowns may be the best treatment option for patients who require extra protection for their enamel.

Both porcelain veneers and crowns offer individuals functional benefits in addition to renewed aesthetic beauty. To help you make the best decision for your desired outcome, we will discuss all your options during your initial consultation.

Not sure which whitening system is right for you? We can help. Contact our office today to learn more about our teeth whitening options or to schedule a consultation.

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