Tooth whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it lightens your teeth and helps remove stains and discoloration, for a beautiful white smile! The natural color of the teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the color of the dentin under it. Your genes affect the smoothness and thickness of the enamel.
Having rougher or smoother enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the color. Tooth enamel contains pores than pick up and hold stains on a daily basis. Most commonly staining is caused by tea, coffee, cola, red wine, tobacco. A tooth may have stains on the inside too. These are called intrinsic stains. Tooth whitening is most effective on surface stains.
There are two main types of whitening procedures. Vital whitening is performed on teeth that have live nerves. Non-vital whitening is done on teeth that have had a root canal treatment and no longer have a live nerve.
Teeth whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. In-office whitening allows the dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel. A specialized light or laser is used that activates the gel and enables bleaching to happen faster. In-office whitening usually takes 30 to 90 minutes. You will need 1 to 3 appointments depending on the method used, how severe your stains are and how white you want them to be.
Professional bleaching is the most standard method of tooth whitening. A Dentist will first put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them. Then the teeth whitening product is applied to your teeth, using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a mouthguard. This procedure can take up to four weeks.
This may include continuing the treatment at home and applying the whitening product for 30mins to one hour at a time. However, some new products can be applied for up to 8hrs at a time giving satisfactory results in almost a week.
Laser whitening or ‘power whitening’ is the most recent teeth whitening procedure. During this procedure, gums are first protected using a rubber dam that is put over your teeth, and a bleaching product is then painted onto your teeth. Followed by a light or laser shone on the teeth to activate the chemical. The light or laser speeds up the reaction of the whitening product and the colour change can be attained more quickly. Laser whitening makes the teeth up to five or six shades lighter. Dr. Singh provides this service using the Philips Zoom! as her preferred in-house advanced laser whitening system.
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Whitening products can also be bought over the counter. They contain a weaker whitening agent than the products you get from a dentist. Therefore, whitening may take longer. Always consult your dentist before using any over the counter kits and ensure to follow all instructions and avoid overuse. Whitening toothpastes are available as well.
These contain abrasives that remove stains on the enamel. A Professional procedure is always recommended since teeth whitening is a complicated procedure.
Vital whitening may not affect the appearance of a tooth that has had root-canal treatment because the stain is coming from the inside of the tooth. In such a case, a different procedure that whitens the tooth from the inside can be done. A whitening agent will be placed inside the tooth and a temporary filling put over it. The tooth will be left this way for several days. This may be needed only once, or it can be repeated until the tooth reaches your desired shade.
At Singh Dental Center we provide various services to get you that perfect movie star smile. In addition to the above, Veneers are also an effective way to whiten your teeth.
They are porcelain shells that cover your teeth. Veneers are strong and resistant to stains. However, you need to continue the same oral health practices you would use with your natural teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.
Whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain a brighter color. The effects of whitening are believed to last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person.
The effect is likely to last long if you do not smoke, or eat or drink products that could stain your teeth. If you avoid these sources of staining, you may not need another whitening treatment for 2-3 Years.
Side – Effects
Whitening is not likely to cause any serious side effects, although some people’s teeth may become more sensitive for a short while. You may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of completing the treatment. Pregnant Women should not have their teeth whitened. The effect of the whitening materials on the development of the fetus is not known. Since the procedure is cosmetic, it should be postponed until after delivery.