You may have seen movie stars or your own friends get excellent results from teeth whitening treatments, but how does this procedure actually work? Here, our St. Thomas dentists shed some light on how the teeth whitening process brightens your smile.
What is teeth whitening?
Our teeth naturally get darker as we age. This is a gradual change in colour that can be a side effect of some lifestyle factors too like drinking beverages such as coffee, tea or alcohol, smoking, taking certain medications and general wear and tear from years of use.
Professional teeth whitening treatments use 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 our dental office is a popular treatment for many patients, since we are usually able to complete the process in only one or two sessions.
During your in-office teeth whitening treatment, your dentist will begin by placing a rubber shield over your gum to protect them from the whitening agent.
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 generally takes between 1 and 2 hours. For some patients, one session may actually be enough, but depending on your smile, you may need more treatments to achieve the whitening effect that you are looking for.
Professional Teeth Whitening At Home
Look up “how to whiten teeth” online and you’ll soon find a wide range of at-home teeth whitening options. While these present one alternative, they are not quite as strong or as effective as the teeth whitening kits at our St. Thomas dental office.
The at-home teeth whitening solutions offered at our office come with custom whitening trays and instructions for whitening your teeth in the comfort of your own home. On top of this, you will have a dentist to supervise the process and teach you how to apply the treatment. The cost of at-home whitening may also be a bit less than in-office treatments.
To start, you will need to visit your dentist so that an impression of your teeth can be taken to create a custom whitening try to fit your smile. You will use these trays at home to apply a 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.