It’s no secret that a mouth full of whiter teeth provides benefits, the most obvious being – a brighter more attractive smile. Stains or overall discoloration tends to dull your smile, so regardless of how widely you smile or heartily you laugh, your expressiveness has missing something. Whiter teeth restore this missing dimension to your self-esteem.
How is the teeth whitening process?
Professional teeth whitening delivers optimum results in a relatively short amount of time.
Performed under the supervision of a dentist, this method of whitening has gained popularity among those who either are dissatisfied with over-the-counter (OTC) products or don’t want all of the fuss and bother of a professional at-home kit.
In-office teeth whitening is not an altogether complicated procedure, but it does require skill to avoid injury to the gingival (gum) area.
All told, you can achieve significant whitening results in a single 1-2 hour appointment. The procedure itself can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to complete.
Here is a breakdown of the standard steps to performed of an in-office whitening:
- Before starting, the dentist will make a record of the current shade of your teeth.
- Your teeth would then be polished with pumice, a grainy material used to remove any plaque on the surface.
- Your mouth will be isolated with gauze to keep your teeth dry.
- A cheek retractor is inserted to your cheeks, lips, and tongue well away from the whitening solution, exposing all the aesthetic zone teeth, which is teeth that are visible when you smile).
- A liquid rubber dam or hardening resin is placed along the gum line to protect against any irritation caused by the bleaching gel.
- A bleaching gel containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is applied to the aesthetic zone teeth and kept on for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
- Many whitening products require a curing light or laser to activate the peroxide. Once applied, the solution would be left on the teeth for the time stated or reapplied occasionally, depending on the brand.
- The bleaching gel is suctioned or washed off, and fresh gel is applied for one or more additional periods of 15 to 30 minutes.
- Once the optimum shade has been reached (or the maximum time has passed), the teeth would be rinsed. A fluoride application may be used to help ease any tooth sensitivity.
- The teeth may whiten by as few as two to three shades or as many as eight (out of a total of 16).
- After the final gel application, the cheek retractor is removed, the patient rinses and the immediate post-treatment shade change is measured.
Additional visits may be scheduled by the dentist, depending on the level of teeth staining or until the desired shade is reached.
Part of the whitening effect is due to dehydration during the bleaching process, which makes the teeth look whiter than their true new color. That color will emerge after a couple of days.
Upon completion, you would be advised to avoid foods or beverages with a high level of pigment for at least 24 hours.
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