Teeth whitening is a procedure where the dentist removes stains and discolouration of the teeth. It is also known as “teeth bleaching” and will result in brighter, whiter teeth. This is a popular procedure at our practice because patients can improve their smile in a non-invasive way. If you are interested in making your smile more beautiful, you can discuss this treatment with the dentist during your visit.
Certain food and drinks will stain your teeth. Drinks such as dark coffee, tea and wine can all lead to stains. Smoking is also another cause. Normal brushing will not remove the stains.
Types of teeth whitening
There are two types:
1. In office whitening:
This type of bleaching is done while you are seated in the dental chair. Usually, we can complete the procedure in one session.
The gums are covered with a particular material so the tooth bleaching material will not come into contact with your gum. After this, the dentist places the bleaching material and focuses an individual light on the medication.
The light will activate the whitening material and remove the stains from tooth surfaces. The procedure generally takes between 1- 2 hours. Depending on your dental enamel thickness and stubbornness of the stain, we may have to repeat the process.
You may experience sensitivity for up to a week after the procedure. The dentist may prescribe some tooth desensitising agent. You can apply this to reduce the sensitivity.
2. Take-home whitening kit:
This procedure is cheaper than in-office bleaching. A mould of your mouth is taken and sent to the lab. The lab technician will make custom trays. The dentist will fit the bleach trays and check how they sit in your mouth.
Then the whitening medication and trays are given to you to take home. Dentists at Bendigo Dental Group will explain the procedure to you. They will show you how to place the medication in the bleach trays and insert the trays in your mouth. They also provide the instructions for you to follow the procedure at home.
You can leave the bleach gel in your mouth for either 30 – 45 mins, depending on the sensitivity and the type of bleaching medication. Generally, you’ll need to do the home bleaching procedure for between 1 to 2 weeks. Once you complete the cycle, you can keep the trays. This means that if you need further bleaching in the future, you’ll need to only buy the bleach material.
Before any whitening procedure, we recommend a dental check-up and clean. This is because if you have any cavities in your teeth, the whitening gel will irritate the nerve or pulp. This can cause a lot of discomfort and lead to severe sensitivity.
Professional teeth cleaning by the dentist is also important before the whitening procedure. If there is calculus or plaque on the tooth surface, the medication won’t be able to penetrate through this. If the tartar is not removed, you won’t get an optimal result.
When a tooth is developing in a child’s gum, some medical conditions can make the tooth dark or stained. Whitening procedures cannot remove this type of stain. The only way to get rid of the stain is to place either a porcelain veneer or crown on the tooth to mask the stain. We will check your child’s mouth and advise you.
How often can I whiten my teeth?
We recommend that you do not bleach your teeth more than once a year. This is because if you bleach too often, teeth can become dehydrated and the enamel surface may crack at a later stage. You may even see the crack lines appearing on the tooth surface and also gum related problem.
At what age can I start to whiten my teeth?
If you have all of your permanent teeth, you can have them whitened. Our dentists recommend bleaching after 18 years of age. If you bleach your teeth at a young age, they may become more sensitive.
Whitening teeth is an easy way to improve your appearance and confidence.