Benefits of Whiter Teeth
Teeth whitening or bleaching is a quick method to restore the sparkle back into your smile. Apart from having a whiter smile, another benefit of gleaming pearly whites is the positive impact this has on one’s confidence and self-esteem. A side benefit is a more youthful smile since yellow and stained teeth are often associated with ageing.
Consultation with the Dentist is Important
A dental examination and consultation is important to assess whether teeth whitening is appropriate.
While most people will be suitable candidates for whitening, those with gum problems, tooth infections, ulcers or sensitive teeth may have to address outstanding dental issues before having teeth whitening done.
In addition, the dentist will determine the cause of the stained or discoloured teeth. Tooth discolouration can be due to either external or internal causes, and the treatment is different for each. Smoking, as well as tea, coffee and soft drink consumption are some of the biggest causes of external staining. At times, irregularities on teeth surfaces may contribute significantly to the uptake of external stains too. For external discolouration, a proper cleaning and teeth whitening should be sufficient to restore the sparkle to the smile.
Internal or intrinsic discolouration could be the result of a dead or infected tooth or a result of medication (e.g. tetracycline stains). Treatment for intrinsic discolouration is more complicated. In such cases, bleaching alone may not be sufficient, and other types of treatment, such as veneers or crowns may have to be considered.
There are also different shades of stains on the teeth that play a part in determining how the final result of whitening would look like. For example, teeth that have yellow stains or brown stains would respond best to bleaching treatment, compared with teeth that have a grayish tinge.
The key to effective treatment is to get a proper examination and diagnosis. Your dentist would be able to identify the causes of your concern and the relevant treatment.
Teeth Whitening Process
Teeth whitening can usually be completed in an hour’s visit to the dentist.
A whitening gel is carefully applied to the teeth. A safe, whitening light is used to activate the gel and bleach away stains on the teeth. Once the gel is activated, it remains on the teeth for 20 minutes until the process completed. Several rounds of this process are performed in the clinic during the visit.
What to expect?
Teeth whitening is a painless procedure and patients who undergo this treatment will be able to resume their daily activities immediately although on rare occasions, some teeth may experience sensitivity to cold drinks or air. But, nothing to worry about as this will settle with time.
Teeth that are whitened generally stay that way for approximately 24 months; however certain stain-inducing lifestyle habits such as smoking or drinking coffee, tea or red wine, will increase the likelihood of a patient requiring teeth whitening treatments from time to time.
Maintenance is required in order to keep the result achieved after the treatment. Thus, in some cases, dentists will also provide the patients with a take home kit, so that they can do touch up from time to time, as advised by the dentist.
Lastly, basic rule of thumb applies, maintaining a good oral hygiene is essential. Dental cleaning, combined with regular check-ups to your dentist will help in giving you healthy teeth and a good looking smile.
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