Teeth discoloration occurs naturally with age, but the process can be exacerbated by pigmented foods and beverages, some medications, and smoking. Although you can take steps to minimize teeth darkening by watching what you eat and drink, it’s impossible to avoid staining your teeth.
Before answering, “how does teeth whitening work,” we need to discuss the different types of teeth whitening treatments.
Teeth Whitening Methods
Patients can opt for a laser whitening treatment performed by a licensed professional or a take-home whitening remedy.
Bay Dental Studio offers laser treatments using the Philips Zoom whitening light. This in-chair treatment can be completed in a single appointment that usually lasts less than an hour. This is a time-efficient way to restore a bright smile.
Professionals protect your gums and lips with a rubber coating before applying a gel to your teeth. The whitening light activates the gel to begin the whitening process. A single appointment will often entail 3 to 4 light-activated gel treatments, which last about 15 minutes each.
Bay Dental Studio also offers a take-home whitening treatment option with the trusted dental brand, Opalescence. Our professionals will use impressions of your teeth to make customized trays which make it easier and more comfortable to apply the gel.
A take-home treatment method will take 2 to 3 weeks of consistent use to achieve optimal results. Each application of the gel can take as little as 15 minutes, and patients can apply the treatments at their convenience.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
The Philips Zoom teeth whitening treatment employs concentrated bleaching agents in concert with activating light that works to speed up the process. The hydrogen-peroxide based gel is applied directly to the teeth and works by breaking up the molecular bonds within the stains on and in your teeth.
This method penetrates the dentin tubules, or microscopic pores, in the enamel of your teeth to reach interior stains as well as surface stains and lighten your teeth by up to eight shades in just one visit.
The take-home teeth whitening option by Opalescence also uses a gel that contains carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This teeth whitening agent can penetrate the enamel and react with discolored molecules. The gel reacts with oxygen molecules and spreads the oxygen throughout the entire tooth for an even, bright smile.
The Opalescence method takes longer to produce a result, but most patients can lighten their teeth by four shades.
Preparing for Teeth Whitening Treatments
For optimal teeth whitening results, it’s important to have clean and healthy teeth. Dentists recommend scheduling a dental cleaning and check-up before a teeth whitening treatment to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
A dental checkup will also verify that you don’t have any underlying oral health concerns that must be addressed before your teeth can be whitened. Cosmetic dental work, like crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays, should be performed after a teeth whitening procedure, as restorations can’t be whitened, and your dentist can match the colour of the restoration to your new bright smile.
What to do After a Whitening Treatment
Your dentist will instruct you on how to protect your newly brightened smile. Generally speaking, you should only consume clear beverages within two hours of the whitening treatment. You’ll want to restrict your intake to white foods and beverages like milk, chicken, cod, and potatoes for two days following a whitening treatment.
Even if your teeth are sensitive, you can brush your teeth with a gentle toothpaste that does not contain baking soda or other whitening ingredients in the two days following the procedure. Avoid hot, cold, and sugary foods to maximise your comfort.
After 48 hours, you can return to your normal diet. However, keep in mind that the foods you eat can still stain your teeth. If you return to a diet full of coffee, red wine, and berries, you may notice your teeth beginning to darken after several months.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
There are practically no risks involved in teeth whitening treatments conducted by certified professionals. Over-the-counter whitening kits are generally inexpensive and easy to use, but you will almost always obtain better results more quickly and safely by visiting a dental professional. You may experience tooth sensitivity after a teeth whitening procedure, but professionally done treatments should not harm the enamel of your teeth. You can have professional procedures done multiple times without worrying about damaging your teeth.
Customized Teeth Whitening Plans
A customized teeth whitening plan can help patients achieve maximum results as quickly as possible. Your dentist may recommend an in-chair whitening session to ensure the whitening gel is applied correctly and make adjustments on the spot if necessary.
A home-based teeth whitening treatment plan leaves more responsibility to the patient, but Bay Dental Studio professionals demonstrate how to properly apply the customized dental tray. A bespoke tray from the dentist is more accurate and reliable than store-bought treatments, and it can make it easier to achieve the desired results.
Working with a dentist to brighten your smile affords you peace of mind and removes the guesswork from applying over-the-counter whitening products.
Bay Dental Studio works with patients to develop a personalized whitening plan that makes it easier to achieve a brighter smile and consequent confidence booster. To book a consultation call (02) 9158 6723 and take the first steps towards a healthier, happier smile.