What To Expect From Your Teeth Whitening Treatment

Dr. Ash Sagar
dentist with smile (2) (1)

A yellow, discoloured and stained set of teeth can greatly affect your smile and confidence. They make your teeth appear dull and unclean, which can make you feel embarrassed. One way to address this problem is to brighten your smile with teeth whitening treatment. It’s not surprising that teeth whitening is one of the most requested dental services as many patients experience tooth discolouration mainly because of lifestyle and diet choices.

If you’re considering teeth whitening, you’re likely eager to achieve brighter teeth, and knowing and understanding what the procedure entails is essential.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the treatment process of teeth whitening and take a look at the various types of teeth whitening treatments available. We’ll also provide tips on getting the most out of your whitening treatment. So, if you’re ready to start brightening your smile, keep reading.

Professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure of lifting tough stains on the surface of teeth that make them appear discoloured or yellowish. The goal of the process is to lighten the shade colour of the teeth for a brighter smile. Teeth whitening is done by dental professionals involving a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide to target the tooth stains. They may also use blue light or heat to cure the whitening solution for a more apparent result.

It is considered a less-invasive procedure and a safe way to get whiter teeth, and your dentist can show you the results relatively quickly rather than waiting for a few days to see the changes to your teeth.

What Is the Process of Professional Teeth Whitening?

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Professional teeth whitening, also known as in-office teeth whitening, requires a skill to avoid harming the gums area. The dentist will use a specific dental tool to safely perform and complete the procedure.

Generally, you may expect the following step-by-step process of teeth whitening treatment:

Initial consultation

During your appointment, your dentist will check the condition of your teeth and gums as well as determine if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening. Then, the dentist will use a tooth shade chart to determine the current colour of your teeth and record it. This information can be used later to compare the results. After that, you’ll discuss how many shades lighter you prefer after whitening.

Preparation and precautions before the treatment

Next, the dentist will ensure your teeth are cleaned before applying the bleaching agent. They will polish the teeth with pumice, a grainy material, to remove any remaining plaque on the tooth surface.

A retractor may be used to keep your mouth open and to avoid the bleaching solution coming into contact with sensitive areas of your mouth, such as your lips, cheek and tongue. Then, your dentist will apply a rubber shield or protective gel on your gums to keep them from exposure to the active ingredients.

Applying the bleaching agent

The dentist will start applying the whitening solution on the teeth surface only. The bleaching agent is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. After application, the solution would be left on the teeth for about a couple of minutes. Many teeth-whitening products need a curing light or laser to activate the peroxide. Re-applying the bleaching agent may also be necessary, depending on the type of product.

Final step

After the whitening process is completed and the target shade is reached, your teeth will be rinsed and fluoride will be applied. This helps reduce potential tooth sensitivity and ensures you have a healthy, white smile following the treatment.

Your dentist will discuss some tips on maintaining your results and advise you about the foods you might need to avoid to prevent tooth discolouration.

What Are Available Options to Whiten Your Teeth?

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In-chair teeth whitening

In-office professional teeth whitening is done in the dental clinic by the dentist. Depending on your unique needs, it can deliver optimum results in one appointment or several short visits. This treatment procedure uses a significant amount of hydrogen peroxide (as whitening solution) to lighten the shade colour of the teeth. Your dentist will apply it and leave it on for about a few minutes.

Professional at-home teeth whitening kits

More people are turning to at-home whitening kits as an alternative to in-chair teeth whitening. This is a “do it yourself” model that can only be obtained from a dentist. It is personalised and requires dental impressions to create a set of trays, ensuring they are comfortable and will fit your teeth perfectly. The active ingredients used in at-home teeth whitening kits are lower than professional whitening performed by dentists.

The process of making these trays takes around one to two weeks on average. After receiving your custom-fit trays and whitening solution, your dentist will give instructions on how to use it. Typically, you need to apply the solution to the trays and wear it for a few minutes.

While in-office whitening is fast, take-home trays require effort and commitment on the part of the patient, and the results may take a while.

How Long Does In-Chair Teeth Whitening Take?

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Professional teeth whitening procedures generally take anywhere between 1 hour and 1 hour and a half. The time may vary depending on several factors, including the whitening product your dentist uses as well as if your treatment case involves laser or UV light to activate the solution, and your individual circumstances.

Your dentist can estimate how long the treatment process will take during your consultation so you can better prepare for the appointment.

Is Scaling and Polishing Necessary Before Teeth Whitening?

Plaque buildup and dental calculus (tartar) may contribute to the yellowish appearance of your teeth. They may also block some areas of the enamel surface, which can interfere with the whitening process. Hence, the dentist may recommend scaling and polishing before undergoing a teeth whitening treatment. It can remove food particles stuck between your teeth, allowing the bleaching solution to work more effectively.

What Is the Difference Between Professional Teeth Whitening and At-Home Teeth Whitening

The Australian Dental Association reports a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects when teeth whitening is performed without supervision by a qualified professional. Your dentist will use additional protective measures, such as gel and rubber shields, to protect sensitive areas in your mouth from the whitening product.

Time

Professional teeth whitening requires hours of appointments in the dental clinic. Yet, the period of time may differ depending on factors such as the type of whitening solution, the process, and the current shade of the teeth. In comparison, at-home whitening kits offer the convenience of doing it yourself at your home. That said, you need to wear your custom-fitted trays with gel whitening for an hour or so per day, depending on the time prescribed by the dentist, rather than receive treatment at the dental office.

Cost

The cost of in-chair whitening depends on your case, but generally speaking, it may cost $260 per tooth. In contrast, the price of take-home teeth whitening kits (professional) is $610, and whitening gel refills can be purchased at the clinic if needed.

The list prices above may differ from the actual cost given during your consultation as different factors may impact the quotation. For an exact amount, you can discuss this with our dentist.

Results

The dentist uses a greater amount of hydrogen peroxide or whitening solution during the in-office teeth whitening procedure. This higher concentration gives a lighter shade to the teeth within an hour and a half (or more depending on the case), and the whitening effects last longer than other techniques.

On the other hand, for safety reasons, the gel solution used in take-home kits has a lower concentration compared to professional teeth whitening. This means you may not get the same degree of brighter shade change that you can get from professional whiteners. In addition, the results may take longer than the in-office technique.

Are There Any Side Effects After Teeth Whitening?

Since your tooth enamel experiences exposure to hydrogen peroxide, it may produce some side effects of increased sensitivity to temperature. Patients with weaker enamel may be more susceptible to this issue. While in some cases, it can be a result of improper application of a whitening agent. If the bleaching solution touches your gum tissue, it may experience discomfort or irritation. If you feel any discomfort following a teeth whitening procedure, your dentist can help you manage or reduce the side effects.

Why Should You Consider Professional Teeth Whitening?

Professional teeth whitening can be an option for safe and effective results. Store-bought kits may work, but they are not as reliable and have more potential side effects than professional treatment.

The results tend to be better because they use higher concentrations of bleaching gels, which means you can have a much more significant change in your tooth shade, and the effects can last longer. There are various brands, and their techniques of application and cost vary from product to product, but the application process itself is generally similar for all types of products.

Moreover, the dentist will schedule a dental checkup to assess your gum health and teeth condition. This will allow them to have a treatment plan suitable for you and may lower the risks of complications. It’s recommended to visit a professional for teeth whitening services for even brighter teeth.

What Food Should You Avoid After Teeth Whitening Treatment?

After teeth whitening, it is important to avoid substances that can leave surface stains on your teeth. This includes smoking or using tobacco products and consuming food and drinks such as tomato-based pasta and red wines for about a week. This is because the pores in your enamel are open after the treatment and more receptive than before.

The following are some of the foods you may need to avoid following teeth whitening treatment:

Dark or strongly coloured

  • Soft drink or cola
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • coffee
  • berries
  • ketchup
  • red pasta sauce
  • dark chocolate
  • Snacks with powdered cheese such as cheddar cheese popcorn and Cheetos.

If you need to have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, you can drink it through a straw to limit their direct contact with your teeth,

Acidic drinks

  • Citrus juices like lemon, orange
  • Tomato sauces
  • Soft drinks, as mentioned above
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pickles

Foods with natural or added colourants

  • Soy sauce
  • ketchup and other similar coloured food.

Be sure to ask your dentist after the teeth whitening treatment about any food restrictions you need to observe to make the results last longer.

Final Thoughts

Teeth whiteners work excellent when applied professionally by dentists. This way, common side effects are minimised since practitioners are trained to perform teeth whitening procedures.

Coming to the dental clinic can be a great option if you want quick results. Generally, regardless of the whitening product, your dentist will use a cheek retractor to help your mouth open during the entire procedure and apply a protective gel on your gum line to prevent the bleaching solution from touching them.

In contrast, if you enjoy doing it yourself, you may get professional take-home teeth whitening kits from the dentist. In this way, you can still receive safe and reliable products customised for you.

Are you considering teeth whitening for a bright smile? Find our dental office at 3a /420 Princes Hwy, Narre Warren, VIC 3805, or give us a call at (03) 8771 4137.

Disclaimer – Use At Your Own Risk :- The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. Any action you take upon the information on these blogs are strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs.

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