Teeth are one of the most prominent facial features. Having straight and white teeth naturally is a gift only a few are blessed with. Over time, our teeth get yellow and stained due to poor eating habits and lack of a good regimen for oral health and hygiene. Stained and yellow teeth can dull your smile and make you conscious of your physical appearance.
This is where professional teeth whitening comes into action. It is a cosmetic procedure that uses bleach for brightening your teeth and removing stains from them. Teeth whitening can either be performed at a dentist’s office or over-the-counter (OTC) products can be used in a professional at-home kit.
Let us take a look at how teeth whitening is performed and whether it is worth the hype or not.
What is Teeth Whitening?
- Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that uses peroxide-based bleaching agents for whitening teeth and removing tough stains from the teeth. Teeth whitening can be performed both in-house and at a dentist’s office. Both types of procedures require varying levels of bleaching agents. At-home teeth whitening usually uses carbamide or hydrogen peroxides which contain 3 to 20% peroxide. Whereas in-office bleaching agents contain 15 to 43% peroxide.
How is Teeth Whitening Performed?
In-office teeth whitening comprises of the following steps:
- To start off, the dentist will observe and note down the existing color and shade of the patient’s teeth.
- After that, the teeth are polished and scrubbed with pumice. It is a teeth shiner with a grainy texture that removes plaque from teeth through scrubbing action.
- After the teeth are plaque-free, it is time to apply the teeth whitening solution. To keep the teeth dry and avoid their contact with saliva, gauze is placed in between the teeth which keeps them open.
- Retractors are placed inside the mouth that keep the cheeks, lips, and tongue in place and away from the teeth whitening solution. The basic nature of the solution can be damaging to the flesh.
- The gum line is protected from the whitening solution by placing a barrier along with it.
- Once all the surfaces are protected and covered, the whitening solution is applied to the front surface of the teeth. The solution usually contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent.
- A laser or curing light is applied over the solution which activates the peroxide in the solution.
- The whitening solution is usually kept for 30 to 60 minutes. During this time, it is sometimes reapplied according to the need and requirements.
- After the solution has been applied for the requisite time, it is washed off. Fluoride toothpaste is then applied which helps with tooth sensitivity and reduces discomfort.
Professional tooth whitening usually requires 2 to 3 dental sessions for achieving the desired shade. It is recommended that sugary and pigmented beverages, as well as smoking and tobacco, should be avoided for at least 24 hours post each session.
What Are The Risks of Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is quite a safe procedure. However, it carries the following risks:
- Teeth sensitivity: bleaching your teeth can make them more sensitive to cold and hot beverages and food. The sensitivity diminishes as treatment goes on. Teeth sensitivity can be countered by using products that contain potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride gel.
- Irritated gums: even though the gums are protected from the whitening solution using gumline barriers, you may experience some gingival irritation. Gum sensitivity and irritation lasts for a couple of days, post-treatment.
This information has been brought to you by Celebrity Smiles and General Dentistry. They are located in Westmont, IL.