Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the appearance of your teeth without removing the surface of your teeth in the process.

Very few people have naturally brilliantly white teeth as the color of a person’s teeth is influenced by many different factors. Foods and drinks such as teas and coffees may stain teeth, in addition to age yellowing the teeth over time. Professional teeth whitening is the most powerful treatment you can get to lighten your teeth as much as possible.

Bleaching vs. Whitening: What’s the Difference?

According to the FDA, the term “bleaching” is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach — typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

The term “whitening” on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and debris. So technically speaking, any product used to clean the teeth (like toothpaste) is considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used — even when describing products that contain bleach.

The bleach preference for in-office whitening, where time is limited, is powerful and fast-acting hydrogen peroxide. When used in bleaching teeth, hydrogen peroxide concentrations range from approximately 9% to 40%.

By contrast, the bleach preference for at-home teeth whitening is slower-acting carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15% solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide.

What Causes Tooth Staining?

A healthy white smile is on just about everybody’s wish list. There are many reasons why your teeth may darken. Some we can’t control, such as age or accidents that disrupt enamel development when we are young. Other reasons we have more influence over, such as smoking. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, your dentist will give you advice on how to best achieve your goals through treatment and lifestyle changes.

How White Can You Go?

Results are subjective, varying considerably from person to person. Many are immediately delighted with their outcome, while others may be disappointed. Before you embark on any whitening treatment, ask your dentist for a realistic idea of the results you are likely to achieve and how long it should take to achieve them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your dental team will be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for the treatment. During the procedure, the dental team will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, using a specially made tray that fits into your mouth like a mouth guard. The active ingredient in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
The full treatment is usually completed within 3 to 4 weeks.
The results of whitening are thought to last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The results are less likely to last that long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Ask your dental team for their opinion before you start the treatment.
Home kits are cheaper but they are not always assessed for safety and tend to be more acidic. So there is a chance that these products could damage your teeth and gums. Because tooth whitening is a complicated procedure we advise that you always talk to your dentist before starting the treatment.
There are several whitening toothpastes on the market. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining. Therefore, they may improve the overall appearance of your teeth. Whitening toothpastes may also help the effect to last, once your teeth have been professionally whitened.

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