Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look.
How It’s Done
Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. For whitening at home, your dentist can make trays to hold the whitening gel that fit your teeth precisely. The most common type of tooth whitening uses a gel-like whitening solution that is applied directly to the tooth surface. Home whitening gel usually needs to be applied daily for two to three weeks. In-office (chair side) whitening allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel and allows bleaching to happen faster. In-office whitening usually takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending upon how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Different types of stains respond differently to the treatment.
For in-home whitening, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make custom mouthpieces to fit you. You will fill each mouthpiece with a whitening gel your dentist provides, and wear the mouthpiece for several hours every day. Many people achieve the amount of whitening they want within a week or two. However, you may need to wear the mouthpiece for four weeks or longer, depending upon your desired result.
For in-office whitening, your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent, usually hydrogen peroxide, will be placed on the teeth. If your teeth are badly discolored, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks, with an in-home whitening kit, which is usually provided by your dentist following in-office whitening.
Follow Up And Re-Whitening
Whitening is not a permanent solution. The stains will come back. If you smoke or consume a lot of staining foods or drinks, you may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. If you avoid these sources of staining, you may not need another whitening treatment for 6 to 12 months.
Re-whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. If you have a custom-made mouthpiece and whitening agent at home, you can whiten your teeth as frequently as you need to.
Know The Facts – Possible Side Effects & Risks
Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discolored. Whitening products will not make them whiter. If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.
Whitening is unlikely to cause serious side effects, although some people’s teeth may become more sensitive for a short while. You may get mild gum irritation as well. If you find that your gums are white or sore following whitening, please contact your dentist.
Are You Ready For A Whiter Smile?
If you feel your teeth would benefit from whitening, please contact our office to schedule an appointment or to discuss the procedure. We also offer gift certificates for tooth whitening if you would like to give the gift a whiter smile to a friend or relative.