Tooth whitening helps lighten the color of your teeth and removes stains and discoloration. The whitening procedure is one of the most popular dental cosmetic procedure because it improves the way your teeth look. It is a procedure that can be done in most dental offices. In addition to this, tooth whitening is not a one-time process, but it can be repeated from time to time (with your dentist’s approval).
What is tooth whitening used for?
Your teeth have an outer protective layer called the enamel. The light reflected from the enamel combined with the color of the dentin is what gives the color of your teeth. The coating is naturally white, but the dentin has a yellowish color. In time, as the enamel becomes thinner, the color of your teeth will start to look yellower. Every day, a pellicle (a thin coating) forms on the enamel and removes the stains. But the enamel has pores that can hold stains. Certain habits, such as tobacco use and drinking dark-colored beverages (coffee, red wine, tea, colas), will affect the color of your teeth. Not taking care of the health of your teeth will also make them lose color.
Age is another important factor. With age, your teeth will start to look less and less bright as your enamel gets thinner and the dentin darker. It is possible to suffer inside stains, called intrinsic stains. If you expose your teeth to too much fluoride when you are a child, your dentin will have a darker color. Other causes of teeth discoloration include tetracycline antibiotics.
Tooth whitening requirements
Tooth whitening is a simple procedure, but it requires a good oral health, without cavities. Different types of dental problems can affect the result of the tooth whitening procedure. If you have cavities, you have to treat them before the procedure, because the whitening bleach can enter the inner part of your teeth, affecting it and generating a lot of pain.
It is also not recommended to whiten your teeth if you suffer from gum disease. If your gums have receded, the part of the tooth that is exposed appears to be yellow and discolored. Even if you undergo the whitening procedure, that part of the tooth will not become whiter. Ceramic and porcelain veneers or crowns don’t become whiter even if you do professional tooth whitening. If you undergo the procedure while suffering from tooth decay, your teeth will become sensitive.
Tooth whitening preparation
This procedure can be done in the office or at home. For the process at the dental office, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if you can undergo the procedure. Then, they will photograph your teeth to observe the process of your treatment. The dentist will then clean your teeth of bacteria and plaque and prepare for the whitening procedure.
The dentist will apply a gel directly on your teeth. Most gels contain different types of hydrogen peroxide. The procedures in-office uses powerful gels that whiten your teeth more efficiently in just 30 to 90 minutes.
Firstly, your dentist will apply a gel to your gums to protect them. Then the whitening gel is applied to the teeth. Certain gels are activated by a special laser light, or by the heat from the light. After the agent is applied to the teeth, it will remain there for 30 minutes. Sometimes the dentist will recommend you to have multiple tooth whitening procedure sessions for a better effect.
For more information about tooth whitening procedures you can ask your dentist.