Bleaching or teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments because it is the fastest and most pain-free way to an improved smile. Teeth whitening can be performed using a specially designed light source, usually a laser or halogen lamp and application of a bleaching gel.
What causes discoloration of the teeth?
Teeth enamel discoloration can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Some of the more common causes of teeth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea or cigarettes. People who drink significant amounts of soft drinks can experience similar staining. Aside from staining, there are other factors that can affect the color of an individual's teeth. Genetics can play a role. Some people have naturally brighter enamel than others. Disease can also be a factor and certain medications can cause a discoloration of the teeth.
What’s the procedure?
The bleaching process uses a gel or similar substrate containing active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide up to a concentration of 46%. The gel will be applied to your teeth. Oxygen from the active ingredient within the bleaching gel penetrates the teeth’s enamel surfaces helping stains to disappear without causing damage to the surrounding structures. The dentist then applies the specialized light source to assist the bleaching process. In some cases it may be necessary to continue the bleaching process for a short period at home.
How long does the teeth whitening process take?
The traditional techniques may take a few weeks, but the latest bleaching processes can be done in less than an hour. Depending on each case, sometimes this procedure might involve repeated treatments at your cosmetic dentist, supplemented by treatment at home.
How long will teeth whitening last?
Teeth whitening is not a permanent procedure. Results can last for one or more years, depending on several factors, for example your personal habits, what you eat and drink and the natural composition of your teeth. In most cases, the whitening procedure is very effective and the patient is pleased with the results.