Teeth whitening is one of the most popular dental procedures. Many people decide to whiten their teeth for special occasions, like weddings, graduations, birthdays, or simply for their everyday life.
Teeth whitening is an aesthetic dental procedure that whitens teeth safely and efficiently. Contrary to popular belief, our teeth are not naturally white. Their natural colour is yellow and comes from the dentine, a bony tissue covered by the enamel. The thicker the enamel, the whiter the tooth appears. In addition to the dentine, our age, diet, dental hygiene and tobacco consumption affect the colour of our teeth. Teeth whitening is a safe method to get rid of spots or discoloration on our teeth.
There are mainly two teeth whitening methods: in-office whitening and home whitening.
In-office whitening occurs at the dental clinic. First, the dentist applies an isolating and protective product on the gums. Then, a hydrogen peroxide based whitening agent is applied to the teeth. This agent is applied two to three times every 10 to 15 minutes, and the activation of the agent with a light is optional. This whitening method is quick and safe, as the level of sensitivity of the patient and the agent’s viscosity are controlled by a professional. Even though you need to go to the dentist, the procedure lasts an hour to an hour and a half and there is nothing to do at home!
Home whitening allows the patient to whiten his teeth himself and at his own rhythm. The procedure starts with an appointment to take dental impressions and build clear trays. These trays are custom-made and fit perfectly in the patient’s mouth. The patient takes home the clear trays with the whitening agent and an instruction booklet. Usually, the tray, filled with the whitening agent, is worn one to two hours, for two to three weeks or until the desired results are achieved. In case of tooth or gum sensitivity, the patient can stop the treatment and start again at his own rhythm. Unlike whitening kits available at the drugstore, the home whitening kit obtained at a dental clinic is custom-made and perfectly adapted to each patient’s dentition. This prevents spilling the whitening agent, which could be swallowed, and allows the dentist to control the agent’s viscosity to prevent irritating the gums.
Even though the colour of your teeth depends on the pigments found in your diet, your teeth will never be as dark as they were before the whitening procedure. Moreover, touch-ups, at the dentist or at home, are always possible. Naturally, colored foods, like coffee, red wine and tomato sauce easily stain teeth. Maintaining a good dental hygiene, reducing or stopping tobacco consumption and drinking white wine, instead of red wine for example, extends the whitening effects of the treatment.