Life's wear and tear on our teeth can cause them to darken over time, prompting many patients to seek professional whitening treatments. Today, our Kamloops dentists explain how the teeth whitening process works.
What is teeth whitening?
Our teeth naturally get darker as we age and lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking dark coloured beverages, and certain medications can all contribute to dulling our smiles.
Professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental treatment that uses peroxide-based bleaching agents to lighten the colour of your teeth and reduce the appearance of surface stains. As the peroxide breaks down, oxygen acts on tooth enamel and creates the whitening effect.
Professional Teeth Whitening at Our Office
Professional teeth whitening in the dental office is a popular treatment for many patients, as we can usually complete the full process in one or two sessions.
During your in-office whitening treatment, the dentist will start by placing a rubber shield over your gums to protect them from the whitening solution.
Next, they will apply the bleaching solution to your teeth with a small brush-like applicator. The solution will be left to work on your teeth for 15 minutes under a low-heat lamp. Your hygienist will then clear the solution and repeat the application process.
This process usually takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. For some patients, one session may be enough, but depending on your specific case, you may require more treatments to achieve the whitening effect you had in mind.
In-office treatments are usually more effective and efficient than at-home treatments because your dentist can apply a stronger concentration than would be safe for you to use at home.
Professional Teeth Whitening At Home
An alternative to in-office whitening is a professional take-home whitening kit. The kits, provided by your dental office, come with custom whitening trays and specific instructions about how to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home.
Generally, professional take-home kits are more cost-friendly than in-office treatments.
To begin, you’ll first need to visit the dentist so an impression of your teeth can be taken in order to create custom whitening trays to fit your smile. You’ll use these trays at home to apply the whitening solution yourself.
Once your trays are ready, you will return to the dentist’s office to confirm they are a good fit. Next, you’ll be sent home with the trays, the whitening solution, and clear instructions from your dentist.
At home, you’ll wear the trays for about 30 minutes every day for approximately 2 weeks, until you achieve the desired level of whiteness. Then, you can use the whitening solution to touch up your smile every 6 months or so.