Teeth whitening is a treatment used to brighten your smile, remove intrinsic and extrinsic stains, and improve discoloration. By using a peroxide-based whitening agent, we can increase the porosity of your teeth and this enables the whitening gel to penetrate through the layers below the enamel.
So, what actually causes this process to whiten your teeth? Volatile oxygen molecules in the solution break down staining molecules that they come into contact with. Because peroxide concentrations are so much higher in professional dental treatments, they are much more effective than drugstore whitening products.
They’re also much safer and don’t damage your teeth or gums. Teeth whitening is a non-invasive, painless, fast, and cost-effective cosmetic treatment that can drastically improve your smile. This is why it’s by far the most popular cosmetic treatment that patients opt for.
The teeth whitening process begins with a consultation with Chevy Chase dentist Dr. Morrison, who will determine if you’re a good candidate for in-office or take-home whitening. At an in-office treatment, we will keep your mouth open with a cheek protractor.
This keeps your teeth exposed. A protective gel is also applied to your gums so the whitening agent doesn’t come into contact with them and cause irritation. Then, the whitening agent is painted directly onto each tooth.
After applying the whitening gel, we expose the tooth to UV light which activates the whitening gel and speeds up the whitening process. This is left on for about an hour and then rinsed off to reveal your beautifully whitened smile.
Some patients prefer to whiten their teeth from home because they live busy lives or prefer not to sit in the dental chair. All we need you to do is come in for a quick appointment so we can take impressions of your teeth.
These impressions are sent to a lab that will fabricate custom-made whitening trays for you to wear each day. Once your trays are ready, you’ll come in to pick them up and you’ll also receive the whitening gel and written instructions.
Now you’re free to complete your treatment on your own! The whitening gel is applied to the inside of your trays and the trays are placed over your teeth. The instructions will inform you how long to keep them on but because the peroxide concentration is lower, this treatment requires repeated daily use for up to 2 weeks to achieve desired results.
The effects of teeth whitening can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. It all depends on how well you maintain your white smile by practicing good oral hygiene, reducing your exposure to stains, and attending regular dental cleanings.
Common staining culprits include tobacco products, coffee, tea, wine, berries, juice, and dark sauces. Some tips to reduce your risk of discoloration include limiting your consumption of staining foods and drinks, drinking through a straw, and rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking.
If you are unhappy with the shade of your smile due to discoloration and stains, then you are a great candidate for teeth whitening. However, you must be in good oral health, don’t have extreme tooth sensitivity, and are aware that teeth whitening cannot whiten dental work such as crowns, bridges, and dentures.
To find out if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening, contact us at Morrison Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eric Morrison today.