A bright, white smile gives off a good impression. It projects youthfulness, happiness and appeal. It makes a person feel more attractive thus, greatly boosting one’s self-esteem and confidence. A bright smile is an asset, especially in the social aspects of your life. It increases your chances of finding a partner or having more friends. It also increases your chances of landing a job, impressing people in the professional world and achieving a future as bright as your smile. That is why it is no surprise that more and more people are investing a lot of effort to whiten their teeth.
Teeth tend to get darker with age. They also get stained from the food and drinks that we take. Coffee, tea, red wine, soda and other stain-causing food and drinks are the most common causes of discoloration to the teeth. Smoking is also a big culprit. Accumulation of tartar on the teeth’s surface is also a reason why teeth become yellower. To counter the effects of these factors, teeth whitening procedures may be used.
Types of Whitening Treatments
Over-the-counter products are the most popular type of teeth whitening treatments because they are inexpensive and readily available. They are also easy to use and available in different forms. Whitening toothpaste can make teeth one shade lighter but contain mild abrasives and only help remove surface stains. Whitening mouth rinses are used like mouthwashes. However, their effectiveness has been widely-doubted since they usually just stay in contact with the surface of your teeth for about a minute. Whitening gels and strips are peroxide-based and are to be used for a couple of days. Most people who have tried several over-the-counter methods claim that whitening strips are the most effective among home-use whitening treatments. Whitening trays use peroxide-based gels also that are used with trays that look like a mouth guard.
Professional Teeth Whitening
All over the world, professional teeth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedure, if not the most. Also called in-office teeth whitening, getting your teeth whitened by a dental professional yield quicker and more dramatic results. A noticeable difference can already be observed even after only your first session, with some treatments claiming to lighten teeth by ten shades in just an hour.
Professional whitening treatments use bleaching agents with 15-43% hydrogen peroxide. These are much stronger than over-the-counter products that just use bleaching agents containing around only 3% of hydrogen peroxide.
In-office treatments are also considered safer because they are done under the supervision of dental professionals. They also do not cause teeth sensitivity and gum irritation that are usually associated with over-the-counter products. Since they do not contain abrasives like some home-use products, they also do not damage the tooth enamel.
Some dentists may just prescribe a take-home whitening treatment instead of an in-office treatment. These are stronger than the usual over-the-counter products though. They also require the use of trays that are molded after the patient’s own teeth to ensure that maximum contact with all surfaces is achieved and thus, making the treatment more efficient and effective.
The Professional Teeth Whitening Process
The professional teeth whitening process involves several steps:
- You will be given a prophylaxis treatment. This means that your dentist will clean your teeth and gums from food, tartar and bacteria that may inhibit the efficacy of the whitening treatment.
- A protective barrier will be put in place to protect your gums from the bleaching agent.
- The hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching gel will be evenly and meticulously applied to all the surfaces of your teeth, carefully avoiding contact with your gum tissue. This will be allowed to sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Some treatments may use a special light, such as a laser, to enhance the effectiveness of the bleaching agent.
- After removing the gel, a fresh batch of gel will again be applied after a few minutes. This process of re-applying and washing off the gel will be done a couple of times, depending on the effect of each round.
- Depending on the outcome of the treatment and the patient’s desired results, the dentist may recommend another or several more sessions of in-house whitening treatment or prescribe a take-home whitening product. These take-home whitening products use trays that are custom-made to fit the patient.
Radiate confidence with a brighter smile. Consult our dentists to determine the best whitening treatment option for you.