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Professional Teeth Whitening: What Is It?

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Healthy permanent teeth are naturally a bit yellowish in color. Age, diet, heredity, and other conditions can cause your teeth color to darken further. Professional Teeth Whitening or In-Office Teeth Whitening is a safe, fast, and effective way to brighten your smile. A take home kit are also available. Both options use peroxide-based bleaching agents to brighten teeth. The only difference is that professional teeth whitening has a higher percentage of peroxide, providing faster and more effective results compared to take home kits.

What causes discoloration or staining of teeth?

  • Aging: over time, the enamel thins out exposing the yellow color of the dentin. the dentin also grows as you age, reducing the translucency of the tooth making them look darker
  • Consumption of certain foods: colored foods like tomato based foods and drinks like coffee can cause discoloration of the tooth
  • Smoking: smoking can result in brown stains called nicotine stains
  • Trauma: necrotic teeth can turn grey

Advantages:

  • Fast or instant results
  • Safest form of bleaching

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Results are unpredictable and may not work for all
  • Results are not permanent. Dentists may recommend take home kits for maintenance.

Extrinsic stains that teeth whitening can fix:

  • Stains from colored drinks such as coffee, tea, wine, juice
  • Stains from colored food such as curry, tomato-based products
  • Nicotine stains
  • Mild fluorosis

Stains resistant to teeth whitening:

  • Discolored teeth due to trauma
  • Tetracycline stains
  • Moderate to severe fluorosis

Procedure:

  1. The dentist will make sure you are a candidate for teeth whitening. Patients with teeth and gum hypersensitivity, multiple restorations (bondings, veneers, and crowns), and decays are not candidates for teeth whitening.
  2. Oral prophylaxis will be performed before the procedure to remove any plaque build up.
  3. A cheek retractor will be placed to avoid the contact of bleach to your gums and to expose your teeth.
  4. Pre-operative photos may be taken.
  5. A gingival or gum barrier will be placed on all teeth to be whitened, to protect gums against the bleaching gel.
  6. Bleaching gel will be applied and left on to the tooth for about 15-30mins depending on the brand of the teeth whitening product.
  7. The existing gel will be suctioned. a new layer of gel will be applied for one or two more cycles depending on the brand.
  8. The shade of the teeth will be checked in between applications to check if additional application is needed.
  9. After the final cycle, the gel will be suctioned and washed off thoroughly.
  10. The dentist will remove the gum barrier and the cheek retractor.
  11. Fluoride may be applied to reduce post-operative sensitivity.
  12. Post-operative photos may be taken for before/after comparison.

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