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How Teeth Whitening Works


If you're thinking of getting your teeth whitened, here are some important questions and answers for your consideration:

What does teeth whitening do?

Teeth whitening can be a highly effective yet very simple method of lightening the color of teeth, which does not need the removal of any tooth structure. It cannot make a color change, but lightens the existing color.

What does the procedure involve?

Tooth whitening lightens the color of teeth.

The whitening product is applied to the teeth by the dentist, using a specially made tray, which fits into the mouth like a gum shield. The chemical may be activated using heat or heat and light combined. The active ingredient in the product is normally hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

If the teeth have not been root-treated, the canal, which previously contained the nerve, may be reopened and the product is inserted. In both cases, the procedure needs to be repeated until a satisfactory shade is attained.

How long does the procedure take?

Find out what to expect from tooth whitening.

Initially, you will need two or three visits to your dentist. Your dentist will need to make a mouth guard and will need to take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dentist has started the treatment, you will be required to continue the treatment at home. This will require regular applications of the bleach over a period of two to four weeks for 30 minutes to one hour at a time. However, some products have now been developed that can be applied for up to eight hours at a time, which means that a satisfactory result can be obtained in as little as one week.

Why would my teeth need to be bleached?

Everyone is different, and just as our hair and skin color varies, so do our teeth. Some teeth have a yellowish tinge, some are more beige -- very few are actually 'white.' Teeth also yellow with age and can become stained on the surface through daily exposure to foods and drinks such as tea, coffee and black currant. Calculus or tartar can also affect the coloration of the teeth. Some people may have internal staining which can be caused by certain antibiotics or minute cracks in the teeth, which take up stain.

Will I be happy with the results?

Treatment results may vary depending on the original shade of the teeth. Teeth will tend to darken slightly over time. The effect lasts for around one to three years, although sometimes it can last longer. Some people find that their teeth are sensitive for the first few days after treatment, but this wears off after just a short while.

What about home kits?

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are not recommended as they contain only a small concentration of hydrogen peroxide, which reduces the effectiveness of the product. Some also contain mild acids, while others are abrasive. Although these products are cheaper, whitening is a complicated treatment procedure and should only be carried out by a dentist after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth. It is very important to follow the instructions issued by your dentist and to ensure that you attend any follow-up appointments recommended.

When might whitening not work?

Whitening can only lighten your existing teeth color -- for a change to a specific chosen shade, veneering is another option. Whitening also only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any type of 'false' teeth. This includes dentures, dental crowns and veneers. If dentures are stained or discolored, it may be worthwhile visiting the dentist and asking him or her to clean them. Stained veneers, crowns and dentures may need replacing. Again, ask your dentist.

What about whitening toothpaste?

There are several whitening toothpastes now available on the market. Although they do not affect the natural color of the teeth, they are effective at removing stains and therefore improving the overall appearance of the teeth. Whitening toothpastes may also help to maintain the appearance, once teeth have been professionally whitened.

If you need a dentist for teeth whitening, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!

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