What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a process of lightening your teeth as it gets rid of stains and discoloration. Note that whitening is one of the most famous cosmetic dental procedures in the world. This is because the process will greatly improve the appearance of your teeth making you have a confident smile. Another reason is that the majority of dentists perform tooth whitening procedures.
Enamel is an outer layer that covers a tooth. Note that the color of the natural teeth is formed by a reflection a scattering light of the enamel when combined with the color of the dentin under it. Your genes will have a great impact on the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. Thin enamel will allow more dentine color to show through and having smooth or rough enamel affects the reflection of the light. Overt time, a thin coating builds up on the enamel and gathers stains. The enamel also contains some pores that can store stains.
Some of the common reasons for teeth to be yellow or stained include:
· Excessive tobacco usage
· Consuming dark -colored liquid like tea, cola, coffee and red wine
· Avoiding taking good care of your teeth
Bear in mind that as you age, your teeth will become discolored and less bright. This is because when the enamel gets thinner; the dentin becomes dark, making teeth discolored.
Preparing for teeth whitening
It is evident that other dental issues can hinder the success of teeth whitening procedure. For instance, you need to make sure that you treat the cavities before you start the whitening process. This is because the solution used in the process might pass through the decayed regions and reach the inner parts of the teeth. If the gums have retroceded, the visible roots of the teeth will look discolored or yellow. However, the whiting products will transform their appearance making them look bright.
If you have tooth problems such as tooth decay or receding gums, whitening will make your teeth sensitive. The best part about tooth whitening process is that it can be done in a dental office or at home. In a dental office, the specialist will take a photo of your teeth first, and this will help him in monitoring the progress of the treatment. On top of that, the dentist will ask some questions to determine the cause of the staining as they examine the teeth.
After that, the dental hygienist will carefully clean your teeth as this will eradicate the film of micro-organism, food particles, and other substances that accumulate on the teeth contributing to staining. The tooth whitening procedure will start once the cleaning is completed. For home tooth whitening, your dental hygienist will make some trays that will hold the tooth whitening gel that fit your teeth. The whitening gel must be applied every day for 21 days. Make sure you talk to your dentist if you want to use the home products and ensure that you follow the directions to evade overusing them hence damaging your mouth and teeth.
How the process is done
Teeth whitening process involves two main types. The Vital procedure that is done on the teeth with live nerves and non-vital that is performed on the tooth that went through a tooth canal treatment and does not have a live nerve anymore.
The most popular form of vital tooth whitening process uses a gel that is applied to the surface of the tooth. Note that this type of tooth whitening can be performed in the dentist office or at home. In the office whitening, your dental hygienist will have a chance to use a more powerful gel. A laser or a specialized light will activate the gel allowing the bleaching action to happen fast. In-office whitening, the process will take 30 to 90 minutes, and you will visit your dental hygienist 1 to 3 times. Note that the number will depend on the technique used, how severe the stains tend to be and how bright you need your teeth to be. It is because different types of stains will react differently to the treatment. First, a substance that will cover and protect the gum around the teeth will be applied, and then the whitening product will be placed on the teeth. Once the whitening agent is administered, the dental hygienist will subject your teeth to some light. In a scenario where your teeth are extremely discolored, your specialist will recommend that you continue with the process at home for a couple of weeks.
This process might not improve the appearance of the tooth that has gone through a root canal treatment since the stain comes from the interior of the tooth. In such a situation, your dental hygienist will be forced to use a variety of procedures that brightens the tooth from inside. A whitening agent will be applied inside the tooth, and a temporary filling will be used to cover it, and the tooth left in this manner for several days. The procedure might be done once, or your dental hygienist will repeat the process until the tooth attains the desired appearance.