Whitening Teeth     

    Tray Whitening

    The History of Tooth Whitening

    Facts Concerning Whitening

Unfortunately, nature plays her tricks over the years as she slowly darkens our enamel. Wouldn't it be better if our hair got darker, and our teeth got whiter?



What can cause tooth discoloration?

There are many causes. The most common include aging and consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea or tobacco. During tooth formation, consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics or excessive fluoride may also cause tooth discoloration.

Who may benefit from tooth whitening?

Just about anyone can benefit from tooth whitening. However, treatment may not be as effective or some as it is for others. Upon an oral exam, Dr. Hafernik can determine if you are a candidate for this procedure, including a shade assessment.

Is tooth whitening becoming more popular?

Absolutely! A bright, beautiful smile can make a big difference.

Is tooth whitening safe?

Yes, research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available. Any tooth whitening product is not recommended for children under 17 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.

Do the results last a long time?

By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. We recommend flossing, brushing twice daily with whitening Toothpaste, and touch-ups with  take-home gel. These are professional formula products designed specifically to keep your teeth their brightest. They are available through our office.

Are there any differences between over-the-counter tooth whiteners and those from our office?

Yes! Consulting Dr. Hafernik is always the first step to whitening your teeth safely. Over-the-counter tooth whitening strips, brush-on gels and toothpastes take weeks or months to whiten your teeth just a few shades. Office dispensed systems are clinically proven to whiten your teeth many shades.

How does whitening work?

The active ingredient is Hydrogen Peroxide. As Hydrogen Peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching any colored substance while keeping the structure of the tooth unchanged.

Is whitening painful?

Depending on how sensitive your teeth are before whitening you may experience some sensitivity during and the first 24-48 hours after treatments. To eliminate this sensitivity we usually recommend an over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol prior to starting the procedure. Many patients do not experience any sensitivity at all.

Are there any side effects?

Some people experience temporary increased tooth sensitivity to cold during treatment. These symptoms disappear within 1-3 days.

Tray Whitening

One of the most exciting procedures provided today! It is possible to whiten and brighten up your smile in 30 to 60 minutes during the day. Impressions are taken of your teeth, custom trays are fabricated and the whitening gel is placed into the trays. The usual length of time required is 10 to 15 days.

The History of Tooth Whitening-

Esthetic dentistry was popular as far back as the late 1800's in this country. It was very popular to alter the shape of the front teeth as well as attempting to lighten them.

Carbamide peroxides were first used in the 1960's as an anti-inflammatory medicament - especially for periodontal and orthodontic therapy patients. During this period, some patients were found to have whitened areas appearing on their teeth. The research by one dentist was generally overlooked for almost 2 decades. Finally, the original study of carbamide peroxide was "rediscovered" and we now have the whitening systems of today.


Q - How does whitening occur?
A - It is hypothesized that the pigments in the tooth are oxidized.

Q- How long does it take to work?
A- Anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. When dealing with extreme stains, there are cases that have taken months to complete.

Q-What are the active ingredients?
A-Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

Q-Can the trays be seen when I wear them?
A-No, they adapt to the teeth very closely and are completely clear.

Q- Are there any problems associated with whitening?
A- Some people get some sensitivity in their teeth. This can be handled with desensitizers or changing from the usual tray wearing regimen.

Q- How long does the whitening last?
A- Studies show a retention of approximately 84% at the end of 3 years.

Q- Can I continue to use the whitening gel in the future.
A- It is not usually required - BUT - it is possible to "touch-up" the color by occasionally using the tray and gel for one or two treatments.

Facts Concerning Tooth Whitening -

  • Safety - There are 100's of published articles that attest to the safety and nontoxicity of whitening systems, when administered by qualified dentists.
  • Predictability - More that 90% of patients will show significant discoloration.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) whitening systems - Simply put, these systems do not have the ingredients/chemistry to take the whitening to what can occur with in-the-office systems. Some types of OTC products have abrasives that will remove surface stains and make the teeth look whiter - the problem with these is that they also remove a small amount of enamel due to their abrasiveness.
  • Active ingredients - We use a whitening solution of carbamide peroxide/hydrogen peroxide (between 15 and 25 percent strength).

    This is a whitening tray being     

    loaded with the whitening gel.



Mandibular Fractures (Broken Jaw)

When the lower jaw (mandible) is fractured, there are several different classifications of fractures.

  • Open - broken bone is exposed.

  • Closed - broken bone is covered by tissues.

  • Complete - entirely in two pieces.

  • Incomplete - not separated entirely.

  • Comminuted - broken into several pieces.

Treatment for Fractures

  1. Reduction of the fracture - getting the broken pieces realigned.

  2. Fixation - stabilizing the broken bone so that correct healing may occur. This can come in several different forms based on the type and severity of the break. Quite often the upper and lower jaws are wired together so that the unbroken upper jaw can be used to position and then stabilize the lower. When necessary, wires and screws are required to hold the broken bones together. There are other less used fixation techniques used when required by the severity of the fracture.

[Wisdom Teeth] [Orthognatic Surgery]  [Fractures] [Chin]
[Oral Pathology] [Extraction Instructions] [TMJ Surgery]

Orthognathic Surgery

When a person has an upper (maxilla) or lower (mandible) jaw that is too big, small, forward or back -  most often the only solution is to perform surgery that corrects these skeletal defects. This type surgery is termed orthognathic ("ortho" means straight and "gnathos" means jaw). 

Do not confuse orthognathic surgery with orthodontic therapy (braces). Although these surgical cases do require some standard orthodontics to set the stage for the surgical phase of treatment, the braces themselves could not possibly fix the jaw relationship problem by itself. When planning an orthognathic surgical case, the general dentist, orthodontist and oral surgeon will work closely with one another to set the stage for optimum post surgical results in regards to both function and esthetics.

Some of the various conditions that can be corrected via orthognathic surgery are:

  • Overbite (retrognathic). This could be a result of overgrowth of the maxilla (upper jaw) or under growth of the mandible (lower jaw). 

  • Underbite (prognathic). This could be a result of overgrowth of the mandible or undergrowth of the maxilla. Most often the treatment for this is surgical setback of the mandible. 

  • Open bite (apertognathic). Most often is a result of excessive growth in the posterior maxilla.

  • Excess upper gums (vertical maxillary excess). Exhibited by excessive gums showing when a person smiles. Surgical intrusion (raising up) of the maxilla is the most common surgical solution.

Below is an example of corrective orthognathic surgery for a retrognathic mandible (lower jaw).

NOTE - This patient had a corrective chin procedure performed as well. 



[Wisdom Teeth] [Orthognatic Surgery]  [Fractures] [Chin]
[Oral Pathology] [Extraction Instructions] [TMJ Surgery]

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Dr. Maury Hafernik
11645 Angus Road, Suite 10
Austin, Texas 78759
P: (512) 345-5552

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