What is Tooth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is a non-medical dental procedure developed to brighten your smile. Bleaching is employed to whiten teeth that have become stained or discolored. It is painless and safe for most patients. We use two techniques for teeth whitening, in-office tooth whitening and tray whitening.
Teeth Whitening at the Dentist
In-office tooth whitening is perfect for when you want an immediate effect, say, for a special occasion. First, we apply a protective gel to the gums. A light-activated gel is then placed on the teeth to be whitened. Light, sometimes a laser, is then used to “switch on” the gel and produce the desired effect. Finally, impressions of your mouth are taken to produce a tray for touch-ups at home. Before you leave the office, we provide you with instructions for maintaining a bright smile that will last for years.
Teeth Whitening at Home – Tray Whitening
While this is less expensive and can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home, it is more labor-intensive than in-office tooth whitening. Here, we provide you with a customized tray and teach you how to apply a special bleaching material. You will need to use these for 30 to 60 minutes, twice a day.
Preparing to Whiten your Teeth
Getting your teeth ready for whitening is a lot like painting your house. You need to make sure the underlying structure is properly prepared. Your dentist will want to diagnose and treat any problems like tooth decay, cracked teeth, infections or gum problems. Otherwise, the tooth whitening procedure may cause you discomfort or aggravate pre-existing problems with your teeth. Also, the process may not be suitable for you.
Tooth Whitening Risks
The potential risks of getting your teeth whitened include:
- Chemical burns from teeth-whitening gel. This can occur if a high-strength bleaching agent comes into contact with unprotected soft tissues.
- Tissue irritation – This is more likely to be the result of a poorly-fitting tray than the bleaching agent itself.
- Overbleaching due to the use of products that produce an extreme color change in a short period of time.
- Bleachorexia – an unhealthy addiction to having one’s teeth whitened.
These places are starting to pop up in malls and beauty salons. While the staff may be dressed up like they know what they are doing in operating room scrubs or white coats, they are not necessarily medically trained. Because they are dispensing chemicals with the potential to hurt your gums and teeth, these kiosks have been banned in one state.