How Does A Dentist Whiten Teeth?
Teeth whitening is one of the most effective techniques that give you back the natural color of your teeth. The process may not give a complete color change but can lighten the existing shade of your teeth. A professional teeth whitening session starts with a consultation with your dentist. But you should remember that not every patient is a good candidate for teeth whitening. That is why you need to talk to a cosmetic dentist before you decide to have it done. In case you are having crowns or large fillings on the front teeth, whitening may not be the best option for you. The whitening process may bleach your natural teeth but not the dental restorations—which will result in your teeth being different colors. This article provides information on how a dentist will whiten your teeth.
There are many reasons for getting your teeth whitened. People have different colored teeth similar to their skin and hair colors. In fact, only a few people will have bright white teeth. Teeth discoloration occurs while an individual grows older. On the other hand, the foods you eat and the drinks you consume can have an effect on the color of your teeth. Tea, coffee, blackcurrant, and red wine are some of the beverages you should cut down on avoid altogether if you want to maintain the natural color of your teeth. Smoking is another negative habit that can stain your teeth over time. Hence, you need to steer clear of such habits to maintain the natural color of your teeth. Poor oral hygiene will result in calculus or tartar building up on the teeth. This is another reason for the discoloration of your teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and taking good care of your teeth are important factors to maintain the natural looks and color of your teeth.
The Tooth Whitening Process
Professional bleaching performed by a qualified dentist is the most effective method of whitening your teeth. Your dentist is the best person to tell if you are a suitable candidate for professional bleaching. During the actual dental appointment, the dentist will insert a lip retractor into your mouth once you are comfortable in the dental chair. The retractor is a plastic guide that moves your lips out of the way so that the teeth are exposed and easily accessible to the dentist. The next step is to cover the gums around the front teeth with a gel and harden it using a high-powered light. This protective cover is known as a gingival barrier—it plays an important part in protecting your gums from being exposed to the teeth whitening chemicals during the whitening process. The professional will then apply a compound to your teeth to prevent any tooth sensitivity issues.
The actual whitening process is what begins next. During this process, the cosmetic dentist will apply a gel that is made of 15% to 35% hydrogen peroxide to the front teeth. This compound will penetrate the outer porous layer of the teeth and break the stain particles apart. This process is known as oxidation. A high-powered light is used to speed up the whitening process. This light is shone on the whitening gel in order to cure it over time. Most of the time, the process may have to be repeated for the best results. Your dentist will use multiple applications during the 40-minute session depending on how much whitening you need. The process will achieve 4-6 shades of whitening during a session. Although some patients may experience gum or tooth sensitivity after the session, it will go away on its own after 2-3 days.
The total whitening process can take up to 3-4 weeks depending on the extent of discoloration of your teeth. You may have to visit the dentist 2-3 times for the entire process. Laser whitening is the latest technologically advanced method of whitening your teeth. A light or laser is shone on the teeth to activate the whitening gel during this method. The light speeds up the reaction of the whitening product and the color change is achieved within a short time. This is the quickest whitening process on the market today. In fact, laser whitening is supposed to make your teeth 5-6 shades lighter compared to the traditional whitening method.
Teeth whitening charges may vary from practice to practice as well as location to location. Many factors can determine the charges of teeth whitening. Laser or power whitening is more expensive than traditional bleaching. The experience and qualifications of the cosmetic dentist, reputation, location, and many other factors come into play when deciding the cost of the process. It is highly recommended that you get a written estimate of the cost involved in teeth whitening before you decide to go through the process.
The effects of teeth whitening can last up to 3-4 years depending on how you maintain them. The results may vary from person to person. If you drink coffee, tea, red wine, and smoke regularly after the whitening process, it may not last long. Your dental team will advise you on how to care for your teeth after the process is completed. There are no noted major side effects of the procedure. But some people have complained of teeth sensitivity and gum discomfort after the process. These symptoms are usually temporary and may disappear within a day or two of the procedure. If the side effects continue even after 3-4 days, you should inform the dentist about it.
There are at-home teeth whitening kits on the market. But these kits are not as effective as professional teeth whitening. Home teeth whitening is cheaper than professional whitening. You are the best person to decide on the most suitable method depending on your budget and the number of shades you require. These are important things to consider when deciding to whiten your teeth.
The article above provides information on how a dentist whitens your teeth.