Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. It can’t make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades.
Who can do teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be carried out by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.
What to expect at teeth whitening appointment?
Whitening typically involves several steps:
• Your dentist will use a tooth shade chart to determine the current shade of your teeth. You’ll discuss how many shades lighter your smile may become after whitening.
• Your dentist will then use a pumice tool to polish your tooth and remove any remaining plaque.
• To ensure the whitening agent doesn’t touch any fleshy parts of your mouth like your gums, cheeks or tongue, your dentist will use tools to keep your mouth open. A barrier is placed along the gum line.
• Your dentist then applies the whitening agent and leaves it on for up to an hour. This is also when your dentist would use light activation if that’s part of your treatment.
• If the specific whitening agent requires additional coats, your dentist will reapply it.
• Once the whitening process is complete, your mouth is rinsed. Your dentist may apply fluoride, which will help mitigate any potential sensitivity.
• You and your dentist discuss if your teeth have reached the desired shade and the lifestyle habits you’ll need to practice for the next day or so to let the whitening agent sink in. These include not eating brightly colored foods and resisting coffee and red wine. Immediately after whitening, your teeth are dehydrated, making them extra susceptible to liquid and food stains.
Even if you stick to your dentist’s recommended regimen of resisting bright foods, coffee and wine, your teeth may appear a bit darker a few days after whitening. But don’t be discouraged. The dehydration caused by teeth-whitening makes them look immediately bright right after your procedure.