What is teeth whitening?
Our teeth naturally darken as we age. This fradual shift in colour may be a side effect of lifestyle factors such as drinking dark beverages like alcohol, coffee or tea, taking certain medications, general wear and tear from years of use, and smoking.
Some people also experience tooth discolouration during orthodontic treatment and consider whitening their teeth once their braces come off.
Peroxide-based bleaching agents in professional teeth whitening treatments lighten the colour of your teeth and reduce the appearance of surface stains. As the peroxide breaks down, oxygen acts on tooth enamel, creating the whitening effect.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening in a dental office is a popular treatment for many patients, as the procedure can usually be completed in one or two sessions.
During your in-office whitening treatment, the dentist will start by placing a rubber shield over your gums to protect them from the whitening solution.
Next, they will apply the bleaching solution to your teeth with a small brush-like applicator. The solution will be left to work on your teeth for 15 minutes under a low-heat lamp. Your hygienist will then clear the solution and repeat the application process.
This process usually takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. For some patients, one session may be enough, but depending on your specific case, you may require more treatments to achieve the whitening effect you had in mind.
Professional Teeth Whitening At Home
Look up “how to whiten teeth” online and you’ll soon find a wide range of at-home teeth whitening options. While these present one alternative, they are not quite as strong or as effective as the teeth whitening kits at a dental office.
Teeth whitening solutions offered by your dentist will likely come with custom whitening trays and specific instructions about how to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you’ll have your dentist to supervise the process, and your teeth whitening cost may be somewhat less than with the in-office solution.
To begin, you’ll first need to visit the dentist so an impression of your teeth can be taken in order to create the custom whitening trays to fit your smile. You’ll use these trays at home to apply the whitening solution yourself.
Once your trays are ready, you will return to the dentist’s office to confirm they are a good fit. Next, you’ll be sent home with the trays, the whitening solution, and clear instructions from your dentist.
At home, you’ll wear the trays for about 30 minutes every day for approximately 2 weeks, until you achieve the desired level of whiteness. Then, you can use the whitening solution to touch up your smile every 6 months or so.