Around the world, more and more dental patients are approaching their dental teams to enquire about having their teeth whitened. And it is easy to see why! Whiter teeth not only improve a person’s smile, but can lift a person’s self-esteem to new heights and so it has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available. And unfortunately, most people require dental whitening on a professional level as over-the-counter toothpaste and mouthwashes simply do not deliver results in many cases.
If you are looking to have your teeth whitened, you may want to know a bit more about the professional side of this option. So welcome to the world of teeth-whitening Macleod!
Why do teeth change colour?
Teeth are composed of layers and the outermost layer which is seen when you smile or talk is the enamel. Enamel is the hardest bone in the human body but as it is a bone, it is porous.
So when you drink coffee, red wine or simply eat foods that have natural colourants like cumin, it is likely that your teeth will absorb the colours. So, teeth naturally change colour over time, especially if you engage in drinking coffee or wine regularly. This is also true if you smoke; many people who engage in smoking have yellow or brown teeth caused by nicotine which is released in the smoke of the cigarette.
How teeth are whitened
When you approach your dental team to have your teeth whitened, they will first explore the underlying reason as to why your teeth are discoloured. As mentioned earlier, in most cases it is due to food, drink or other lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking. Teeth are typically whitened using one of two methods. The most popular method used by dentists to whiten teeth involves the application of a bleach-based gel to the tooth which is then oxidized via light and removes stains from the enamel. If, however, your teeth have changed colour due to medication or fluorosis earlier in life, then your dental team may decide to use abrasion to remove the stains.
The bleaching of teeth occurs over two weeks in most dental surgeries. At the first appointment, your dental team will apply the gel to the teeth and use a light to oxidise it and remove the stains. After this, you will be given a set of trays that look like mouthguards that your dental team will tell you to wear at night, using a weaker version of the whitening gel used in surgery.
This will help to remove any stubborn stains which may appear after the initial whitening has occurred. Once this 14-day period is up, you will need to attend your dental surgery to have the final whitening procedures performed, in which you will have a bleach-based gel reapplied to the teeth and oxidised.
Prolonging the effects
To prolong the effects of your whitening, your dental team will typically offer you a gel to use at home to act as a top-up to keep your teeth whiter for longer. You should also refrain from engaging in activities such as smoking or consuming food or drink high in tannins, and then, you may experience a whiter smile for up to 3 years.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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