You may have watched movie stars and your friends achieve great results with teeth whitening – but how does this procedure actually work? Our dentists at Toothworks College Park Dental discuss how the teeth whitening process brightens your smile.
What is teeth whitening?
Naturally, our teeth will darken in colour as we age. This gradual change in colour may be a side effect of lifestyle factors such as drinking dark beverages such as coffee, tea, smoking, taking certain medications and general wear and tear from years of use.
Peroxide-based bleaching agents are used in professional teeth whitening agents to lighten the colour of your teeth and reduce the appearance of surface stains. Oxygen acts on tooth enamel as the peroxide breaks down, creating the whitening effect.
Professional Teeth Whitening at Our Office
Many patients attend their dental office for professional teeth whitening procedures as we can usually perform the full process in one or two sessions.
During your in-office teeth whitening treatment, your dentist will begin by placing a rubber shield over your gums. This will protect them from the whitening solution.
Next, a bleaching solution is applied to your teeth with a small brush-like applicator. The solution will be left on your teeth for 15 minutes under a low-heat lamp, then cleared. The application process will be repeated as necessary to achieve your desired shade of whitening.
This process typically takes about 1 to 2 hours. While one session may be enough for some patients, you may need more treatments depending on your specific case to achieve the whitening effect you wanted.
Professional Teeth Whitening At Home
Look up “how to whiten teeth” online and you’ll soon find a wide range of at-home teeth whitening options. While these present one alternative, they are not quite as strong or as effective as the teeth whitening kits at our Ontario dental office.
The teeth whitening solutions we offer come with custom whitening trays and specific instructions about how to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you’ll have your dentist to supervise the process, and your teeth whitening cost may be somewhat less than with the in-office solution.
To begin, you’ll first need to visit the dentist so an impression of your teeth can be taken in order to create the custom whitening trays to fit your smile. You’ll use these trays at home to apply the whitening solution yourself.
Once your trays are ready, you will return to the dentist’s office to confirm they are a good fit. Next, you’ll be sent home with the trays, the whitening solution, and clear instructions from your dentist.
At home, you’ll wear the trays for about 30 minutes every day for approximately 2 weeks, until you achieve the desired level of whiteness. Then, you can use the whitening solution to touch up your smile every 6 months or so.