If your teeth have become discoloured, whitening is an option. Learn how professional teeth whitening is done, as well as the types of teeth whitening procedures your dentist can perform.
How is teeth whitening done?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered if your smile could be just a little brighter? You’re not alone.
The way we feel when we’re laughing with friends or smiling for pictures leaves a lasting impression on ourselves and others, but years of eating, using tobacco and drinking beverages with high pigment such as red wine, coffee or tea may have taken a toll. Fortunately, professional teeth whitening can help.
Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures
It may surprise you to know there are different types of teeth whitening procedures. They include:
The most effective teeth whitening procedures are completed in a dental office. Your dentist’s gel has much stronger whitening agents that produce more effective results than over-the-counter products. In-office whitening involves the following steps:
- After cleaning your teeth, your dentist will perform an oral exam to look for tooth decay, gingivitis, or fractures that may have to be corrected before your teeth can be whitened.
- The dentist puts a cheek retractor in your mouth, then paints your gum tissue with hardening resin or liquid rubber dam to prevent any irritation the bleaching gel could cause.
- Bleaching gel is applied and stays on for 15 to 30 minutes before being washed off. Fresh gel is used for another 15 to 30 minutes.
- Your dentist may shine a light on your teeth to start the bleaching process.
- Your teeth are checked intermittently to make sure they are whitening properly. More bleach may need to be administered.
- Your cheek retractor is removed after a final gel application, and your dentist will take a first shade change measurement. Your “true new colour” should emerge after about two days.
- Depending on whether the desired whitening occurred, you may need to follow up with more in-office treatments or try take-home whitening trays.
Take-Home Whitening Trays
Take-home whitening trays offer the cost-effectiveness, convenience and comfort of whitening your teeth at home. They are a good option if dental teeth whitening is not covered by your insurance plan or if professional in-office teeth whitening is cost-prohibitive.
You’ll first need your dentist to take an impression of your teeth to create custom-fitted trays, which take about one to two weeks to produce. For an hour a day over a two-week timeframe, you’ll place the trays in your mouth. At the end of the process, people typically notice better results when compared with over-the-counter options.