We cannot deny the power of a beautiful smile that reveal your pearly whites. Unfortunately, this charm can get marred by teeth discoloration either on the surface or within the teeth material. This can happen to anyone.
The reasons for teeth getting stained and darkened are many: coffee, cola, wine, smoking and age among other things.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with it. Dental science has advanced to an extent where it is easy to give your teeth back their earlier sparkle.
Professional in-office teeth whitening, also known as power whitening, chairside whitening or power bleaching) is a cosmetic dental procedure that has gained immense popularity. While home whitening uses low-dose bleaching agents, in-office whitening is done under the careful supervision of a dentist. This makes it completely safe and pain-free.
There are many advantages to in-office teeth whitening. It uses a high concentration of bleaching gel – and the results are instant. The thicker peroxide gels used today do not soak into the teeth and spoil them. Gum and teeth sensitivity is controlled using desensitizers like fluoride and potassium nitrate.
Step-by-Step In-Office Teeth Whitening Procedure
- #1 Teeth cleaning: Before the whitening process begins, the teeth are cleaned to get rid of staining on the teeth surface, debris and any accumulated tartar.
- #2 Isolation of teeth: The peroxide whiteners used for teeth whitening are caustic and can cause irritation or even damage to the soft oral tissues. To avoid this, the teeth that are being bleached/whitened, are isolated by placing a “dental dam,” and cheek retractors may also be used.
- #3 Protection of the lips and eyes: Because the peroxide bleaching compounds are caustic, dentists take precautions to ensure the patient’s eyes and lips and any exposed parts are protected. Some petroleum jelly product is applied to the lips and gums to keep them moist and ensure the laser does not burn those areas. Even if the gums do get irritated for some reason, this sensitivity and irritation is short-lived.
- #4 Peroxide whitening gel application: After the cleaning, the patient’s teeth are dried and then peroxide whitening gel is applied. Most teeth whiteners used professionally in dentist’s offices are gels or thick pastes. This is dabbed onto each tooth surface.
- #5 Activation of the teeth whitener using a light or laser: Laser or a specific type of bleaching light is used to activate the whitener. This is done to increase the effectiveness of the whitener. The whitener consists of a compound that is triggered when the light is used, making it more effective. The length of the procedure and the duration of exposure to this light depends on the type of stains and their severity.
- #6 End of the whitening treatment: Once the procedure is complete, the whitening gel applied to the teeth is washed off. Then all other protective material is removed.
The prognosis is very good for in-office teeth whitening, but it is important that you follow instructions. Gum irritation or sensitivity may occur after the procedure but it will soon subside. Your dentist will advice you not to consume foods of extreme temperatures: either too hot or too cold. All the foods that caused this teeth staining and discoloration in the first place should be avoided, which can include caffeine products. You may not want to hear this, but smoking is a big no.
It’s time you started taking care of your teeth and enjoyed that bright smile again.