How is teeth whitening done?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered if your smile could be just a little brighter? You’re not alone.
Years of general wear and tear, tobacco use, and drinking dark-coloured beverages can take their toll, leaving many patients are unhappy with the way their teeth look in photos or when they're smiling with friends.
Fortunately, professional teeth whitening may be able to help.
Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures
It may surprise you to know there are two different types of professional teeth whitening procedures:
Generally, the most effective teeth whitening procedures are completed in a dental office. Your dentist’s gel has much stronger whitening agents that can produce more efficient results than professional take-home or over-the-counter products. In-office whitening involves the following steps:
- After cleaning your teeth, your dentist will perform an oral exam to look for tooth decay, gingivitis, or fractures that may have to be corrected before your teeth can be whitened.
- The dentist will use a cheek retractor to hold your mouth open and then paint your gum tissue with a hardening resin or liquid rubber dam to prevent any irritation the bleaching gel could cause.
- Bleaching gel is applied and stays on for 15 to 30 minutes before being washed off. Fresh gel is used for another 15 to 30 minutes.
- Your dentist may shine a light on your teeth to start the bleaching process.
- Your teeth are checked intermittently to make sure they are whitening properly. More bleach may need to be administered.
- Your cheek retractor is removed after a final gel application, and your dentist will take a first shade change measurement. Your true new colour should emerge after about two days.
- Depending on whether the desired whitening occurred, you may need to follow up with more in-office treatments or try take-home whitening trays.
Take-Home Whitening Trays
Take-home whitening trays offer a cost-effective, convenient, and comfortable way of whitening your teeth at home. They are a good option if professional in-office teeth whitening is not in your budget or comfort zone.
You’ll first need your dentist to take an impression of your teeth to create custom-fitted trays, which take about one to two weeks to produce. Once the trays are ready, you will return to your dental office to ensure the trays fit and pick up your whitening kit. Once home, you’ll place the trays in your mouth and leave them in for an hour a day over a two-week timeframe. At the end of the process, people typically notice better results when compared with over-the-counter options.