Teeth whitening is as easy as visiting your dentist. It is a simple treatment to lighten your teeth and remove stains or discolouration. It is a very popular and effective way to create a celebrity-style smile.
When is teeth whitening used?
Teeth whitening is used to treat extrinsic stains on teeth.
The outer layer of your tooth is called the enamel. The enamel helps to give your teeth their natural colour. If your enamel is too thin, the underlying dentin will show through. The enamel and the dentin can become stained from daily use. Some of the most common reasons for stains include drinking fluids with a dark colour, not taking care of your teeth properly and aging. These types of stains are known as extrinsic stains.
Stains can also form on the inside of your tooth. These are known as intrinsic stains. They are caused by having too much fluoride as a child, taking tetracycline antibiotics and trauma. Teeth whitening will not treat intrinsic stains.
How in-chair teeth whitening works
When you are ready to have your extrinsic stains taken care of your dentist will:
- find and treat any cavities present – this is important because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas of your teeth, reaching the innermost parts
- thoroughly clean your teeth
- apply a whitening agent, activated by a soft light
- supervise progress as the whitening occurs to ensure that you are comfortable and that the shade of white you require is achieved
Advantages of in-chair whitening
- It works quickly – results are achieved in one dental appointment
- Your treatment is fully supervised so the amount of whitening that occurs is controlled
- Your dentist will use a rubber shield to protect your gums from the whitening product
- Your dentist can match the types of stains you have with the best whitening agents, leading to better results
What to expect after whitening
After the procedure, you may feel some minor sensitivity throughout your mouth which will diminish. Provided you regularly brush, floss and attend dental appointments, your teeth should remain whitened for up to two years.