What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is the process of effectively lightening the tooth’s natural color without removing or damaging the tooth’s surface. During tooth whitening, the original shade of the tooth will only be whitened to a much lighter shade and will not actually turn it completely white.
Why do I need tooth whitening?
Our teeth eventually get darker as we age. Different foods and drinks can also contribute to the staining of our teeth. Foods that have strong colors, such as tea, coffee, and red wine, can significantly affect the overall shade of teeth. Some habits and medications, such as smoking and antibiotics, can also result to the darkening of teeth.
Other individuals also have naturally gray-colored teeth. Some may have naturally white spots on their teeth. Certain dental conditions, such as early tooth decay or other illnesses, may have caused this. Furthermore, tartar or calculus can greatly affect the color of our teeth.
What is involved in a tooth whitening procedure?
Your dentist will first assess if you are a good candidate for tooth whitening. During your initial consultation, your available tooth whitening options will be discussed. The most common type of whitening is home whitening, which will be supervised by your dentist. This type of whitening involves the use of customized trays that will be placed in your mouth just like gum-shields. An effective whitening gel is placed in the trays before it is placed in your mouth. You will be asked to follow a routine at home.
There is another type of tooth whitening called the ‘chair-side whitening’. This procedure is done and supervised by your dentist. A rubber shield will be placed on your gums in order to protect them during the process. A whitening product will then be applied to your teeth with the use of a special customized tray. The bleaching agent used during the process is usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Will my tooth whitening results be permanent?
The results of tooth whitening are not permanent. The longevity varies from one person to another. It may last up to a few months and even up to three years. Your whitened teeth can still become stained if you eat or drink products that can discolor your teeth or make them darker. Smoking can also contribute to darkening of your teeth.