Teeth whitening is performed using various whitening products to whiten discoloured teeth. These products contain either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide which penetrate the enamel to reach the discolored molecules inside your tooth.
Teeth Whitening Options
In-clinic procedures, professional take-home kits, and over-the-counter products are some options
for whitening teeth. The strength of the whitening agent varies widely with the method used.
What is the difference between professional teeth whitening and over-the-counter kits?
The highest strength of hydrogen peroxide is used in in-office whitening procedures. In addition, a teeth whitening light is used to activate hydrogen peroxide, helping it to penetrate the surface of the tooth. When the hydrogen peroxide gel is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin, and breaks down the colour pigments in the tooth. This treatment is performed by a trained dental professional, ensuring optimal results. The in-office whitening treatment is hassle-free and is completed in one seating. It has been clinically proven to lighten teeth by an average of eight shades in just one visit.
Professional take-home whitening kits sold in dental clinics contain the next highest strength of whitening agents. These kits come with customised home-whitening trays which have been specifically fabricated by the dentist for your teeth. This allows an excellent fit during your home treatment, ensuring comfort and maximum contact between whitening gel and teeth surfaces.
Over-the-counter products contain the lowest strength of hydrogen peroxide. They come with standard-sized trays which may not fit your teeth well. They usually contain very low levels of whitening agents for safety reasons, resulting in less visible results and hence generally lower patient satisfaction.
What can I expect when whitening my teeth?
Some temporary teeth sensitivity should be expected during treatment. This will ease off after
treatment and will not cause permanent harm to your teeth. Any discomfort can be managed by painkillers when necessary.
What do I need to do before teeth whitening?
For best results, your teeth need to be in maximum direct contact with the teeth whitening gel used. A scaling and polishing procedure should be done 3 days to 1 week before the whitening procedure. This helps to remove surface stains and bacterial film on the teeth, allowing the teeth necessary exposure to the whitening gel used.
Teeth whitening is only safe when performed in healthy mouths. Active dental problems should be treated before teeth whitening. These include tooth decay, cracked teeth, nerve infection, gum disease etc. Left untreated, such dental conditions allow the whitening gel to seep into the internal part of the teeth and gums, causing injury and severe pain.
How effective is teeth whitening?
The degree of whiteness of the teeth achievable depends on several factors: genetics, the condition of the teeth, the degree of staining, and the type of whitening method used. Teeth whitening is only effective for natural teeth. It will not have any effect on teeth restorations like dental fillings, crowns, inlays, or onlays. If you have existing dental restorations in your mouth, it is advisable to discuss the desired treatment outcome with your dentist before proceeding.
Teeth whitening treatments are not permanent. To maintain your teeth whiteness for a longer time, avoid foods and beverages which stain your teeth.