You most likely know that brushing, flossing and regular visits to a family dentist are important for preventing cavities. However, you might be wondering why you need to see a family dentist if you are already brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. There are several things that a family dentist can do that can reduce…
How Does Teeth Bleaching Work?
Teeth bleaching can sound like a misleading or potentially risky term for those unfamiliar with how the procedure works. Dental patients may worry that teeth bleaching will damage their healthy teeth and decide to forgo any whitening treatments. On the other hand, it can be frustrating for these patients who maintain excellent oral hygiene and yet continue to have yellowed or stained teeth. This is an all-too-common situation, and it can be treated more easily than some may assume.
Teeth bleaching basics
There are a few different ways people can bleach their teeth, including store-bought whitening kits, take-home professional kits and in-office teeth bleaching appointments. Bleaching solutions are often much stronger when they are obtained from a dental office instead of a generic store-bought kit, but all whitening methods contain similar active ingredients. For instance, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are two common bleaching agents often found in various teeth bleaching solutions.
Generally speaking, the longer the solution is left on the teeth, the whiter the teeth will become. Those who remove the bleaching agent within the recommended time-frame are unlikely to face any negative side effects, save for some temporary tooth sensitivity. Teeth bleaching is only risky if the person leaves the whitening product on for too long, or if the person had poor oral health at the time of the whitening.
Professional teeth bleaching
In-office teeth bleaching procedures can be fairly pricey, but it is a great choice for those who want the most dramatic transformations in the safest possible conditions. The dentist will begin by polishing the teeth to remove plaque, and then they will use gauze and other barriers to keep the bleaching solution away from the sensitive gum area.
Once the teeth are exposed, the dentist will coat them with the whitening solution. A light or laser might be used to activate the ingredients or speed up the process. Depending on the strength of the bleaching agent and the shade of the patient’s teeth, it may be left on for 30 to 60 minutes, after which the patient will rinse out their mouth. The dentist will apply fluoride to ease any tooth sensitivity, and then show the patient their enhanced smile.
Teeth bleaching kits
For a more affordable whitening solution, people can purchase professional kits from their dentist or choose over-the-counter whitening products. Professional take-home teeth bleaching kits have stronger solutions and have custom-fitted trays for each patient to ensure a comfortable fit. Store-bought whitening solutions may be ill-fitting or have insufficient amounts of bleaching agents to make a difference.
In any case, when using an at-home bleaching kit, people must take care to protect their lips and gums from the whitening product. The solution can irritate or burn the gums on some occasions, even when using weaker products.
How to learn if teeth bleaching is right for you
Before whitening your teeth, it is recommended that you speak with a dentist about your oral health first. Only a dentist can determine if your teeth are healthy enough to be bleached.
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