Teeth whitening is nowadays a very popular service at the dentist, because it can effectively improve your smile. It lightens teeth and helps to remove discoloration and stains. Whitening is achieved through a procedure that causes intrinsic change to the enamel (outer layer of a tooth), rather than surface stain removal.
Why is teeth whitening needed?
The color of our natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of the light off the enamel, combined with the color of the dentin beneath it. The smoothness and thickness of your enamel is determined by your genes. Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) builds on the enamel and picks up stains. The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow (or get stained) are:
- drinking coffee, tea, red wine, cola (dark-colored liquids)
- bad dental hygiene
- aging (as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker)
Besides the reasons mentioned above, it is also possible to have stains inside your tooth. These stains are called intrinsic stains. For instance, intrinsic stains can be caused by too much exposure to fluoride as a child while teeth are developing. Another cause could be tetracycline antibiotics. This medication can stain a child’s teeth if taken by the mother during the 2nd half of the pregnancy or if taken by the child who is 8 years and younger (that is the time during which teeth are still developing).
It is advisable to treat other dental problems first as they can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities should be treated before a teeth whitening procedure is done. The reason for that is that the whitening solution can go through decayed areas and then reach the inner part of. If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive.
You should eliminate all dental problems prior to the teeth whitening procedure. It should be noted, that whitening does not work on porcelain or ceramic crowns or veneers.
The first step is to remove the film of bacteria, food or other substances that build up on your teeth. Our dental hygienist will clean everything here at our clinic before the actual procedure starts.
Teeth Whitening Procedure
Bleach is applied to each tooth. The bleach is a hydrogen peroxide gel that ranges from 25 to 40 percent in concentration levels. The bleach is activated by the laser whose heat enhances its effectiveness while ultimately speeding up the procedure.
A laser teeth whitening takes about one hour in our clinic. Besides laser whitening, there are several alternatives.
Whitening is not a permanent solution. Depending on your lifestyle (if you smoke or consume a lot of staining foods or drinks), the whitening will start to fade much sooner. However, you are free to repeat the laser teeth whitening process whenever you see fit.
Teeth Whitening Risks
Whitening is unlikely to cause any side effects. Some people’s teeth may become sensitive for a short time after treatment. However, the sensitivity will fade quickly.