Bleaching improves the general appearance of a patient’s smile. We generally think of a lovely smile as not only healthy, balanced and symmetrical, but also very white.
So how can you get bright, white teeth? Base colours obviously vary from person to person and other factors strongly affect the colour of your teeth: food, drink, smoking, mouth washes and more can make your teeth dull and yellow.
Teeth whitening is an aesthetic dental treatment that can restore your teeth’s natural whiteness (or make them even whiter) and improve the overall appearance of your smile.
How does bleaching work?
Teeth whitening can be done by a dentist or dental hygienist and only works on natural teeth. It doesn’t have any effect on dentures, implants or minimally invasive veneers, etc.
Teeth whitening involves applying a hydrogen peroxide-based whitening product. The product penetrates the enamel, whitens teeth and removes stains. To aid the process, the dentist may also use an LED light or laser applying the bleaching product, to make whitening faster.
How long does teeth whitening take and how much does it cost?
It’s usually best to whiten your teeth after teeth cleaning by a dentist, so that plaque or tartar do not affect the result of bleaching.
There are two kinds of teeth whitening: home bleaching and those done at a dentist’s studio, called power bleaching.
For home bleaching the dentist makes a transparent mould that the patient can wear at home. They then apply the bleaching agent themselves. The patient has full control of the process and can decide how much they want to whiten their teeth. The obvious advantage is that the mould can be re-used over time to whiten teeth further if needed. The second kind of bleaching is done in a dentist’s studio. The treatment takes from 60-90 minutes. The whitening agent is applied to teeth and then activated by a special light. Professional teeth whitening can lighten teeth by up to 7 shades in one or two sessions and leave teeth perfectly white.
Costs vary according to the kind of whitening and each specific case.
Does teeth whitening hurt?
Despite the number of DIY products on the market, effective and non-harmful tooth whitening should only be performed by a dentist or hygienist.
Professional teeth whitening may result in slight, temporarily increased tooth sensitivity. A check-up at the dentist is recommended to make sure that there are no cavities or other untreated problems before teeth whitening, so there are no inherent risks. You should definitely avoid coffee, smoking and wine after the treatment to ensure your teeth stay white…and you stay healthy!