The Basics of Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is also popularly known as tooth bleaching. The process helps to whiten your teeth by eliminating discolouration and stains. Teeth stains can be due to long-term ingestion of drinks such as coffee, tea and red wine. Tobacco also contributes to teeth discolouration. Many people prefer this method of cosmetic dental treatment because of how quickly it improves their smile. Most dentists offer this treatment. According to extensive studies, most of the teeth whitening procedures that take place under the direct supervision of a dentist are usually safe.

How Does It Work?

The process uses bleaching agents such as oxidizing gel in the form of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to remove the stains. The solution/gel works by permeating the upper layer of the tooth surface, which is the enamel. It then oxidizes the stains, breaking them away while also exposing the bright and natural part of your teeth. During this process, tooth sensitivity may be an issue, and more than 60% experience some level of sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can be quite mild, but it can also be intense depending on individual responses. The primary cause is due to tooth dehydration, and this problem usually resolves within 2 to 48 hours after the tooth starts to rehydrate naturally.

What Is the Required Number of Applications?

The number of applications varies from individual to individual. It takes into consideration the severity of the stains, age of the patients and also the concentration strength of the bleaching agent. Dietary and oral health habits and overall lifestyle also determine the number of applications.

Chair-side power applications are usually quick. All it needs is for the dentist to ascertain that you are the right candidate for the treatment. The treatment can take about an hour to be complete.

In terms of gel applications, ages 14-25 years can have about three or more, and ages 26-40 years can have seven or more applications. In contrast, the age 41+ years category depends on how deep the problem of discolouration is.

The process can take place within three to four weeks. During this period, your dentist can prepare a mouthguard and possibly allow you to take the rest of the treatments right from the comfort of your home.

Tooth whitening is one of the most affordable ways to attain clean, white teeth and a great smile. However, some procedures such as laser whitening may require you to dig a little deeper into your pocket.