FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEETH WHITENING
Allow us to educate you on the world of teeth whitening.
- Your teeth are like sponges…they absorb.
Your teeth have pores just like your skin or a sponge. Anything you put in your mouth that has color will absorb into those pores. Wine, coffee, dark berries, and smoking are extremely active in staining teeth. Over time, the natural color of your teeth becomes darker due to these stains. These stains will never go away unless you actively remove them.
- Teeth whitening does not damage your teeth.
Just like aggressive brushing of your teeth, abuse of any kind can be damaging. The whitening process uses active ingredients to temporarily open pores in your teeth and lift stains. After each whitening session, your teeth naturally remineralize and rehydrate.
- Sensitivity after teeth whitening is normal.
This is most often caused by genetics, thin enamel, or crack/damaged teeth. During the whitening process, it is completely normal for sensitivity to occur. The teeth become temporarily dehydrated which reduces their ability to insulate the nerve from changes in temperature. Sensitivity will disappear 12-36 hours after whitening.
- Not everyone’s teeth can be perfectly white
Regardless of your stains, the natural color (and genetic makeup) of an individual’s teeth are set at birth. The only thing a whitening product can do is remove all the stains that have accumulated over time.
What to Expect With Professional Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is not an altogether complicated procedure, but it does require skill to avoid injury to the gingival (gum) area. The procedure can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to complete.
There are several standard steps to performing an in-office whitening:
- Before starting, the dentist will make a record of the current shade of your teeth.
- Your mouth will be isolated with gauze to keep your teeth dry. Retractors may be used to keep your cheeks, lips, and tongue well away from the whitening solution.
- A barrier would next be placed along the gumline to further protect it from exposure to the solution.
- Next, the teeth would be coated with a whitening solution on the front surface only. The solution typically includes either hydrogen peroxide as the bleaching agent.
- Many whitening products require a curing light to activate the peroxide. Once applied, the solution would be left on the teeth for 30 minutes, or reapplied occasionally, depending on the brand.
- Once the optimum shade has been reached (or the maximum time has passed), the teeth would be rinsed. A fluoride application may be used to help ease any tooth sensitivity.