Any dentist can whiten your teeth if they’re registered. They can also prescribe through dental therapists and dental hygienists. There are two ways categories of whitening teeth: in-office bleaching or using at-home products. Both involve the use of peroxide-containing bleaching agents. Some people can benefit a lot from using at-home products. However, it’s a lot riskier than going to a professional. In fact, professional teeth whitening is the best way to whiten teeth.
Why whiten teeth?
Everyone loves a bright smile. However, over time, our teeth become stained or discolored due to medication, aging, smoking, and certain food and beverages. That’s why you should avoid smoking, drinking coffee, tea, or wine, and make some dietary changes for whiter teeth. After all, whiter teeth exude confidence with an improved appearance and allow a person to get along well with others better. Not only are the benefits aesthetic, but whitening teeth also helps kill bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.
How do dentists whiten teeth?
Professional teeth whitening begins with a consultation. The reason is that it’s not exactly for everybody. For example, you won’t be a good candidate for teeth whitening if you have large fillings or crowns and caps on the front teeth. This is because there won’t be even whitening. Although the bleaching chemicals can whiten your natural teeth, it won’t whiten your dental restorations because they are made with a composite material, porcelain, or ceramic.
This is also your chance to ask the dentist as many questions as you need to, such as risks and benefits; or other types of teeth whitening available. Use this opportunity to manage your expectations, such as how much whiter your teeth can be, whether the treatment is going to work and how long the results are going to ask. You can also ask for tips and hacks to keep the results stay as long as it can and how to maintain them.
Teeth whitening also doesn’t work well with people who have brown or gray discolored teeth. Instead, they’re perfect for yellow discoloration. That’s why professional teeth whitening needs a consultation. Otherwise, patients could simply be wasting their money just to have uneven colored teeth or little to no changes in color at all.
Once the consultation confirms that you’re an ideal candidate, you can then proceed to have the procedure done. You sit on the dentist’s chair and have lip retractors inserted into your mouth. These are just plastic guides to move your lips out of the way and to give the dentist easy access to your teeth. Your gums will then be carefully covered with a gel, which is then hardened with a high-powered light. This is called a gingival barrier, and it’s done to protect your gums from the bleaching chemicals used to whiten the teeth. To prevent tooth sensitivity, the dentist may also apply a certain compound to your teeth.
A gel made of 15-35% of hydrogen peroxide is applied to the front of the teeth. This compound penetrates through the porous layer of the enamel and breaks apart stain compounds through a chemical reaction referred to as oxidation. To speed up the whitening process, a high-powered light is applied next. The gel can be applied multiple times during the session. The dentist rinses it off to reapply a new coat as many times as need during the period of 40 minutes. The whitening procedure should result in four to 6 shades of brighter teeth after a single session.
The downside is that some patients might experience tooth or gum sensitivity for a day or two because this goes away. The whiter teeth can last for months up to years, depending on your habits. Usually, this is the part where the dentist recommends that you maintain the whiter shade of your teeth by using at-home products. Therefore, professional and at-home teeth whitening kits work hand in hand. Click here to learn more about teeth whitening at-home.
But you have to keep in mind and remember that you get what you pay for, so while at-home teeth whitening kits are more affordable, they don’t deliver results as well as professional teeth whitening procedures do. Some kits don’t even contain enough whitening product to be effective. In addition, there are several risks involved. For example, the mouthguard it comes with may not fit properly, and this can cause the bleaching gel to escape into your gums and the rest of your mouth. This can cause not only blistering but also sensitivity.
What whitening options are available?
If you used the opportunity to ask during the consultation, you should probably know that there are several ways to whiten teeth at the dentist. You could opt for stain removal toothpaste, which removes the stain on the surface of the teeth. These kinds of toothpaste contain mild abrasives that scrub the teeth, as well as additional polishing agents. Unlike bleaches, stain removal toothpaste does not change the actual color of your teeth. It merely removes the stain.
You can also opt for in-office bleaching, which we have discussed above. Or you can opt for at-home bleaching from your dentist, through which you will be provided a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. The dentist will then give you specific instructions on its use. And finally, you can try over-the-counter bleaching products. As mentioned earlier, they are more affordable but also have a lot of risks.