Cosmetic Dentistry refers to dental services which primarily main at improving aesthetics and making your smile more attractive and pleasing. One of the most effective and sought after treatments include tooth whitening/bleaching.
Tooth whitening or tooth bleaching lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is by far the most popular cosmetic dental procedures that can greatly improve your smile. Whitening is not a one-time procedure. It may need to be repeated from time to time to maintain the colour and prevent the discoloration from coming back.
The most common reasons for teeth to get stained are:
- Using tobacco
- Drinking dark-coloured liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
- Not taking good care of your teeth
Ageing makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains. For example, intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing. Other causes include tetracycline antibiotics. They can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child who is 8 years old or younger. Teeth are still developing during these years. Trauma may also darken a tooth.
Tooth whitening is most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.
Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discoloured. Whitening products will not make them whiter.
If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.
Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. For in-office whitening, your dentist probably will photograph your teeth first. This step will help him or her to monitor the progress of the treatment. Your dentist also will examine your teeth and ask you questions to find out what caused the staining.
Next, your dentist will clean your teeth. This will remove the film of bacteria, food and other substances that build up on your teeth (plaque) and contribute to the staining. Once this is done, the whitening procedure begins.
For whitening at home, your dentist will make trays to hold the whitening gel that fit your teeth precisely. Home whitening gel usually needs to be applied daily for two to three weeks. Over-the-counter kits are also widely available for home use. They provide trays to hold the gel, or whitening strips that stick to your teeth. Talk to us if you want to use these home products. Be sure to follow directions to avoid overuse and possible damage to your teeth and mouth.
How It’s Done
There are two main types of whitening procedures. Vital whitening is performed on teeth that have living nerves. Non-vital whitening is done on a tooth that has had root-canal treatment and no longer has a nerve.
The most common type of vital tooth whitening uses a gel that is applied directly to the tooth surface. This product contains some form of hydrogen peroxide.
As already mentioned, tooth whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. In-office whitening allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel. A specialized light or laser activates the gel and allows bleaching to happen faster.
In-office whitening usually takes 30 to 90 minutes. You will need 1 to 3 appointments. The number will depend upon the method used, how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Different types of stains respond differently to the treatment.
First, your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent will be placed on the teeth.
Some whitening agents are activated by a laser light, special lights or by the heat from these lights. After the whitening agent is applied, the dentist will shine the light on your teeth. If they are badly discoloured, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks.
For in-home whitening, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make customized trays to fit you. The trays need to fit well. A close fit helps the whitening agent remain in contact with your teeth.
At home, you will fill each tray with a whitening gel your dentist provides. You will wear the tray for a certain time period every day. Many of our patients achieve the amount of whitening they want within a week or two. However, some may need to wear the tray for four weeks or longer.
Vital whitening may not improve the appearance of a tooth that has had root-canal treatment because the stain is coming from the inside of the tooth. If this is the case, your dentist will use a different procedure that whitens the tooth from the inside. Your dentist/specialist will place a whitening agent inside the tooth and put a temporary filling over it. The tooth will be left this way for several days. You may need this to be done only once, or it can be repeated until the tooth reaches the desired shade.
If you find that your gums are white or sore, follow up with your dentist.
Whitening is not a permanent solution. The stains will come back. If you smoke or consume a lot of staining foods or drinks, you may see the whiteness starting to fade within one month. If you avoid these sources of staining, you may not need another whitening treatment for 6 to 12 months.
Re-whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. If you have a custom-made tray and whitening agent at home, you can whiten your teeth as often as you need to. Discuss your whitening schedule with your dentist. You can talk about what whitening products would work best for you.
Whitening is unlikely to cause serious side effects, although some people’s teeth may become more sensitive for a short while. You may get mild gum irritation as well. Women should not have their teeth whitened while pregnant. The effect of the whitening materials on the development of the foetus is not known. Since the procedure is cosmetic, it should be postponed until after delivery.
Post Op Instructions: In-Office Tooth Whitening
- Do not smoke for 48 hours
- Avoid foods and beverages that stain (red sauce, blueberries, juice, coffee, tea, etc.)
- Mild sensitivity to hot or cold liquids may occur. This usually passes within 1 – 2 days. If sensitivity persists, we recommend taking a mild pain killer. If you experience gum sensitivity do not brush the afflicted area while brushing your teeth.
- Immediate whitening results can be quite dramatic due to minor dehydration of your teeth. It is normal for the colour to tone down somewhat after treatment when your teeth rehydrate to a natural white tone.
- Long term results vary from patient to patient. This can depend on the original shade of your teeth and include habits such as smoking or drinking coloured beverages (red wine, coffee, tea, etc.)
- Touch-up treatments may be needed every 6-12 months to retain colour. You are being sent home with take-home trays and whitening gel (Pola/Philips Zoom or Dash) to use as needed for touch-ups. More whitening gel can be purchased as needed.
- Existing fillings, crowns, bonding, etc. will not whiten. Therefore, these may need to be changed in order to match your new smile.
For effective results:
- Do not eat, drink or smoke during treatment.
- Do not smoke immediately after treatment – wait for at least two hours.
- Foods and drinks containing strong colors should be avoided for at least 48 hours after the treatment.
- Use gel at room temperature.
- Store your in-house whitening gels in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
- Do not use gel after expiration date.
Whitening is not a once on a lifetime event – your results will fade over time. How long whitening lasts varies between each individual and depends on a number of factors, including: age, starting tooth shade, history of trauma to teeth, diet, oral hygiene, and smoking.
*We recommend maintaining your whitening results with a touch up syringe once every 6 months. Whitening is most effective after having your teeth professionally cleaned, and regular maintenance requires less work and less material.
At ivory smiles dental clinic, we utilize the best bleaching agents and materials to achieve and maintain optimum results during our whitening procedures. Dr Amruta Dash, our clinical Director and Periodontist is also a trained laser specialist and performs laser tooth whitening using diode laser. Feel free to schedule a one on one consultation with our specialists by calling 9008647867 or reach us out at email@example.com