Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure by which you can lighten the color of your teeth and thus remove discoloration and stains. Teeth whitening is most effective on yellow discoloration and won’t be as effective on brown or gray-colored teeth. It has experienced a surge in popularity because it can improve the look of your teeth. However, you ought to remember that teeth whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the white color. If you wish to get your teeth whitened, these are the steps of the process:
Step 1: Consultation with your dentist
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for teeth whitening, which is why you need to talk to a dentist first. If you have large fillings or crowns on your front teeth, teeth bleaching is not for you. The reason is that while the teeth whitening chemicals will bleach your natural teeth, they won’t have much of an effect on your restorations, which are usually made of porcelain or ceramics. You might end up having different colored teeth, which is not a pleasant sight.
Step 2: The dentist appointment
Once the consultation is over and you’ve been given the green light from your dentist, it’s time for the whitening procedure. After you get comfortably situated in a chair, the dentist will fix a lip retractor into your mouth. A lip retractor is a plastic guide that helps the dentist to access the teeth easily by moving the lips out of the way. The next step is to put the gingival barrier where the dentist covers your gums around the front teeth with a gel and then hardens it with a high-powered light. This protects the gums from the teeth bleaching chemicals during the whitening process. If you have sensitive teeth, the dentist may also apply a compound to your teeth to protect it against sensitivity.
Step 3: The actual process
The actual whitening process involves the dentist applying a gel made of 15 percent to 35 percent of hydrogen peroxide to your front teeth. This chemical can penetrate the porous outer layer of the teeth and break apart stain compounds using a chemical reaction called oxidation. Depending on the whitening process being followed, the application of the whitening gel may be followed by applying a high-powered light to speed up the whitening process.
In most of the procedures, multiple applications of the gel are required throughout the whitening session. The gel is rinsed off and reapplied as many times as necessary within the span of about 40 minutes. Once done, you can note the difference. The whitening procedure can achieve four to six shades of whitening after one session. While some may experience gum or tooth sensitivity after the whitening process, it is not a matter of concern because it gradually disappears after a day or two.
Depending on your diet and lifestyle, the effects of whitening can last for months to years. However, the stains will eventually return. To keep flashing the whitened smile, use the professional home whitening kit that your dentist recommends. It contains custom-made trays to fit your teeth and tubes of whitening gel that has a lower concentration of bleaching agents. The user can line the trays with the gel and wear them for a few hours at a time each day or while sleeping to keep the teeth white and sparkling.
While professional teeth whitening lasts long and is more effective, there are also over-the-counter whitening kits that can be used at home. While they are cheap and don’t require you to visit the dentist, they are less effective than professional whitening and do not last long. For an exceptional outcome that is worth your money, professional teeth whitening is the way to go.
Icon Dental Center is a dental office in Seattle, if you’re looking for a new local dentist in Seattle, come to visit us today!