Tooth whitening is a process of lightening the colour of teeth. The solutions employed have been used in dentistry for many years.
The whitening process is most effective on mildly discoloured teeth. Darker stains such as those caused by antibiotics, take longer to respond to treatment. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient, depending on the structure of the teeth and the duration of the time and system used. Our office currently recommends “in-office whitening” for immediate results or “home whitening” for a cost-effective option to whiten teeth.
What is tooth whitening?
The systems used are mild solutions retained in a custom fitted appliances that fits over your teeth, or, as in the case of in office whitening, a more concentrated solution activated by a special light.
What causes tooth discolouration?
There are many causes. The most common include aging, consumption of coffee, tea, colas, spicy foods and smoking.
Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
Almost everyone. However, there are some cases where treatment may not be effective. The dentist must determine if you are a good candidate for home or in-office whitening through a thorough oral examination and diagnosis. Tooth whitening is ideal for patients who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and would like a brighter smile. Not everyone’s teeth will “whiten” the same. Yellowish-hued teeth will probably lighten well, brownish-coloured teeth will lighten less well and greyish-hued teeth may not lighten well at all. Your dentist can evaluate your situation and give you the best advice. That advice may be to forego a whitening procedure and instead opt for another cosmetic procedure such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Is Home and In-Office Whitening safe?
Research indicates that whitening teeth with 10%-22% carbamide peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is completely safe for your teeth and gums.
How does it work?
A whitening gel is placed in a thin tray that fits over the teeth. As the active ingredient in the gel, carbamide peroxide, is broken down oxygen enters the enamel and dentine and bleaches the coloured substances. The tooth colour is made lighter.
A whitening solution is placed on the teeth while lying in the chair and enjoying a DVD of your choice, which can be viewed via our in chair entertainment system, featuring 17″ wide screen, LCD monitors and stereo headphones. The solution is activated with a patented light for 3 to 4 20 minute sessions. The teeth will be as much as 8 shades lighter in that time.
How long does it take?
Results are usually seen within the first week. Maximum results occur over the next few days. Depending on the extent of shade difference which is required in each individuals teeth.
Two hours of your time is all that is required! It’s as easy as getting a haircut.
Are there any side effects?
Some people experience increased tooth sensitivity to cold during treatment. Others have reported discomfort in the gums or a sore throat. These symptoms always disappear within 1-3 days after stopping or completion of treatment. The most recent whitening gels have a “zero sensitivity formula” to reduce these side effects from occurring.
Some people experience tooth sensitivity during treatment and during the first 24hrs following treatment. These rarely persist beyond 24 hours.
How long do the results last?
Some patients will need periodic re-whitening and there are many products to maintain your teeth at their whitest, including whitening toothpaste, mouthwashes and pens. Just ask us how we would recommend you keep your teeth their whitest longer.
Many times both the upper and the lower teeth are whitened to avoid mismatch between the arches though some people will want to lighten their upper teeth first. This makes it easy to see the results of the whitening.
An impression is taken of the teeth to be whitened. An appliance is made to hold the whitening agent, which is basically an oxygen-releasing gel. The gel is added to the appliance and placed over the teeth.
The appliance holds the gel in contact with the teeth and keeps saliva out which would dilute and wash away the agent. The gel is applied twice a day for 30 minutes to an hour. This is done for 7 to 10 days to achieve the results. The teeth can then be whitened as often as is required to maintain the brightness (generally speaking once per year, or longer, depending on dietary habits).
Just get comfortable in our plush dental chairs and enjoy a DVD or drift to sleep. You teeth are isolated from your saliva and the gel is applied to your teeth. The patented light is then guided in to position and activated. Following the third light activation of replenished whitening gel, the isolation material is removed and you can enjoy your new whitened smile.
After you have whitened
During your take home whitening procedure or following your in chair whitening procedure, avoid consuming staining foods and drinks, including coffee, tea, wine and spicy foods, as well as smoking.