Let’s keep this very simple. Don’t you like the bright white set of teeth you see in television commercials for various brands of toothpaste – CloseUp, Sensodyne, Pepsodent, Macleans, Oral B, etc? You obviously must feel a little bit embarrassed when you look at your own teeth in the mirror and see that they are discoloured and not exactly properly arranged, to produce that smile that charms and warms hearts. If that is how you feel, then today your teeth can be delivered by from the “bondage” of discolouration and also beautifully aligned or arranged so that you no longer have to hide your smile.
Teeth-whitening is a dental service that professionals in dentistry now offer to all and sundry. Whitening is a dental care process that is used to treat cases of teeth discolouration or in cases where they have become yellow over time because of a number of reasons. Whitening can be achieved by changing the intrinsic or extrinsic colour of the tooth. Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient most commonly used in tooth whitening products and is delivered as either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Tooth whiteners primarily target intrinsic tooth discolourations, which are stains that cannot be removed by professional teeth cleaning, otherwise known as scaling and polishing. There are two types of tooth whitening processes, either done at the dental clinic or done at home. As expected, there are differences between the two processes.
A. Whitening done at a dental clinic
In this type, a dental or oral care professional, trained to deliver safe and reliable bleaching results, performs the whitening process in the clinic. This process produces superior results better than what you get with products used at home. The primary reason for the excellent result is that dental clinicians are trained on how to effectively use higher concentration bleach gels without compromising the health of the patient.
Before treatment, the dentist will first prepare your teeth by clearing away plaque and debris and will perform a thorough dental exam to ensure optimal tooth and gum health. A cheek retractor will be used to expose your teeth and a liquid rubber dam or hardening resin applied to your gums to protect them. A hydrogen peroxide whitening gel applied to your teeth is allowed to stay on for 15 to 30 minutes, followed by cleaning the gel, then reapplication for one or more additional periods of 15 to 30 minutes, with a high-intensity light to activate and enhance the whitening process. With whitening done in the clinic you will see immediate results.
Whitening done at home
Whitening that is done at home usually costs less than when done at the clinic, for obvious reasons. However, it offers the convenience of doing it yourself rather than having to go to the dental clinic. However, the major drawback of do-it-yourself teeth whitening at home is that the products employed have lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (perhaps to protect the gum from the harsh effects of the peroxide). For this reason, the result will not be the same as the process done in clinic.
There are many products such as brush-on whiteners, whitening strips, trays, or whitening toothpaste that you can purchase in good stores such Shoprite, Spar, etc. These products deliver minor, short-lived results compared to professional whitening done by at the dental clinic. You can obtain higher concentration whiteners from your dentist, with better results.