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Adult Dentistry and Orthodontics in Tampa and Wesley Chapel, FLLaser

We now offer a more comfortable and convenient alternative to the needle and drill. Our new Waterlase laser fixes most cavities and soft tissue problems using laser light and a gentle spray of water. It also...

  • Lowers the need for anesthesia up to 90%
  • Reduces trauma to healthy tooth structure
  • Increases bonding strength
  • Allows for fewer visits
  • Minimal bleeding with soft tissue procedures

Visit their website for more information.

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At Home Whitening

What is tooth whitening?
How do I use the gel?
How long does the whitening last?
My teeth have tetracycline stains, can I still whiten my teeth?
What are some of the side effects of whitening?
Do the over the counter whitening products I see work the same?
Do I have any options other than wearing a tray at night?

What is tooth whitening?

Tooth Whitening has also been referred to as bleaching, although this is somewhat of a misnomer. The whitening gel is made of a peroxide compound rather than a chlorine bleach. At the first visit an impression is taken of each arch to be whitened. These impressions are then turned into small, clear, soft, plastic trays into which the whitening gel is dispensed by the patient. A small amount of the gel is placed into the built-in reservoirs in the tray and then the tray is worn for at least 4 hours, usually at night while the patient is sleeping.

How do I use the gel?

Usually most patients will use the gel every night for about 2 weeks. This will of course depend on the initial shade of that persons teeth and the desired result. An improvement can be seen in as short as a couple days with the at home whitening procedure, and tend to plateau after about 2 weeks. It is possible to continue to whiten for more than 2 weeks, but as teeth reach a certain shade it will take more time with the solution before any improvements are seen.

How long does the whitening last?

The length of time that teeth remain at their lighter shade is dependent upon many factors. If a person smokes, or drinks a lot of coffee, tea, or dark sodas, teeth will begin to darken earlier. Over time the teeth will slowly begin to darken just from a regular diet. Usually, doing a touch-up of a couple nights every 6 months is adequate to maintain the lighter shade.

My teeth have tetracycline stains, can I still whiten my teeth?

People with teeth stained by tetracycline may see some improvement in their teeth, but in most situations it is impossible to achieve a uniform result. Often the teeth will lighten to a certain extent, but the gray band will still be present, depending upon the extent of the staining at the start. Usually the best way to improve teeth stained by tetracycline is with esthetic restorative procedures.

What are some of the side effects of whitening?

Whitening hasn’t been shown to produce any systemic side effect, but there may be some minor local side effects. Some people may find that after using the gel the teeth being lightened may have an increased sensitivity to cold liquids and air. Often this can be remedied by using a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate, or by using the whitening gel every-other day for a longer period of time. Since the gel does contain a higher concentration of peroxide it can irritate the gums if left for an extended period of time. After the tray has been filled with the gel it is recommended that the excess is removed to prevent it from resting on the gums.

Do the over the counter whitening products work the same?

There are a large variety of over the counter products to help whiten teeth. Many of these may contain the same peroxide used in the gel given out with the whitening kits. However, these products do not contain the same concentrations as the whitening gel dispensed by the dentist. The delivery method is often different and sometimes less effective. Most whitening toothpastes are quickly washed off the teeth by saliva, and many other products don’t have the ability to release a peroxide gel over a period of time.

Do I have any options other than wearing the tray at night?

Some people prefer to wear the tray with the gel during the day, or while at work. This usually doesn’t adversely affect the procedure and is generally tolerable since the tray is clear, and is thin enough not to impede a person’s speech. There is also a procedure now available to whiten teeth at in office appointments. Teeth can be whitened with a couple 30 minute in office appointments using a higher concentration gel and a special blue curing light.

Zoom (In Office) Whitening

Zoom 2 takes tooth whitening to a new level. Many systems are now available including toothpastes, self-applied whitening strips, and custom-fit whitening trays. Earlier in-office whitening procedures were tedious and sometimes uncomfortable. The new Zoom 2 is a one-visit office procedure with significant improvement in time, efficiency and comfort level. The newer Zoom 2 procedure takes less than one hour and produces less sensitivity. Ask for the details on your next visit.


We offer Botox. Please visit for details.

Payment and Insurance

Payment is expected for services at the time they are rendered, to help control billing/accounting costs, unless specific arrangements have been made prior to the appointment.

McIlwain Family Dentistry is not a contracted provider with any insurance companies. If your insurance offers out-of-network benefits and allows you to choose your own dentist, we will be happy to assist you in completing and filing your insurance claims.

If you are planning to use insurance, please contact our office and we'll be happy to go over our policies to facilitate your claims.

Dental insurance coverage does not, however, relieve a patient of responsibility for full payment of treatment charges. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express or payment plans can be arranged through other financing agencies.

About Dental Insurance:

If you have dental or medical insurance, we are anxious to help you receive your maximum allowable benefits. We ask that you read your policy to be sure that you are fully aware of any limitations of the benefits provided.

The fees charged for services rendered to those who are insured are our usual and customary fees charged to all patients for similar services. Your policy may base its allowances on a fixed fee schedule which mayor may not coincide with our usual fees. Insurance companies reimburse a contracted amount commensurate with average quality from an average practitioner, in an average office with an average staff. We sincerely believe that our office operates far above those guidelines. You should be aware that different insurance companies vary greatly in the types of coverage available. Also, some companies pay claims promptly and others delay payments many months.

Because your insurance policy is a legal agreement between you and your insurance company, all patients/parents are directly responsible for all charges. Realistically and legally, your insurance company reimburses you for dental expenses. As a courtesy service to you, our patient, we will complete forms pertaining to your claims and send them promptly to you or to your insurance company. We will also be glad to send in a pre-authorization of benefits to your insurance company to let you know what your insurance reimbursement will be before care is started. This often involves detailed paper work, writing letters to insurance consultants, and making long distance telephone calls. We are happy to do this because we realize how important it is to you.

In our experience, it is not realistic to expect the insurance company to cover all services, irrespective of the premium the patient may be paying. Solid business principles tell us that you get what you pay for. It is our goal to help you obtain the insurance coverage to which you are entitled. This is why our Insurance Coordinator has spent many hours organizing insurance information. She will be happy to take time to work with you, and please remember it is the insurance company that dictates your coverage, not our dental office.

We require insurance deductibles and/or co-payments to be paid at the time of treatment, but for your convenience, will process your insurance forms to help you receive your insurance benefits.

Please feel free to ask questions. Our office and practice have been built on education, communication, integrity and sincerity.

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