A smile that has become discoloured over time due to an unhealthy diet or some lifestyle choices – including smoking and drinking – can result in some people finding it difficult to show off their teeth with confidence, as well as enjoy themselves in busy social environments.
But the emergence of cosmetic dentistry has caused a collapse in a number of barriers that may have previously held individuals back from seeking treatment to improve the appearance of their pearly whites, as well as enjoying a better quality of life through their new-found bravery.
Both laser teeth whitening and professional home whitening kits are based on a bleaching process that makes use of a peroxide-based bleaching gel of varying strength. Materials with a higher concentration of this substance are usually more powerful, while an increased quantity gel is more effective at brightening the teeth, but also has more chance of damaging the surrounding gum tissue and lips.
This course of action is carried out during a single or series of appointments with a dental professional, which sees the practitioner use a light-activated bleaching gel to whiten the pearly whites. Usually completed in between one and two hours, the procedure allows patients to enjoy instant results.
Before this treatment is performed on the teeth, an initial consultation with the administrator will take place to ensure the pearly whites are healthy enough and all the possible risks are explained – including any possible side effects.
The mouth will be thoroughly cleaned prior to the process to remove any surface stains and tartar, which is commonly referred to by a scale and polish. A dentist will then make a record of the colour of the teeth before the treatment is carried out using either a guide or by taking a digital photograph of the mouth.
Following this, the area is then prepared for the procedure. Due to the high concentration of peroxide included in the bleaching gel, the practitioner usually places some kind of protection around the gum tissue to ensure only the teeth are exposed to the compound.
This commonly involves covering the gums with rolls of cotton wool and a gel material that hardens after application, while a cheek retractor is then utilised to keep the lips and cheeks away from the teeth.
Home whitening kits usually have a low concentration of peroxide so there is less chance of damaging the surrounding area, but high-strength compounds have been increasingly used in recent years that could be potentially harmful to the mouth. For this reason, it is vital to ensure a dental professional is contacted before the procedure is carried out.
Patients who are undergoing this course of action are usually provided with protection goggles to stop any of the substance getting into the eyes.
After these are placed over the face, the whitening gel is applied to the surface of the pearly whites and exposed to a light or laser, which begins the process of activation. Some individuals may find they experience a slight burning and should let their practitioner know as soon as possible.
Then, when the 15 minutes is over, the material is removed and the pattern is repeated twice again, which could cause many people to feel sensitivity or tenderness in their teeth – which can often take form as short-lived shooting pains.
When the whitening gel is finally washed off, a dentist will remove any gum protection and thoroughly evaluate the final result by taking a photograph or using a shade chart. Most patients will be pleased to hear the initial results are often fairly dramatic, making the teeth appear up to ten times lighter.
The majority of patients will find their pearly whites are quite sensitive following the treatment, so should try their best to avoid hot and cold drinks for several days.
Many dentists provide fluoride treatment after teeth whitening to reduce the sensitive, while home bleaching kits usually contain a similar solution to reduce this feeling – which often lasts no longer than 48 hours, but those who feel this for longer should contact their dentist.
Following the initial bout of treatment, a shade guide will be used to measure how much brighter the smile has become.
A high number of people may find they are not a suitable candidate for teeth whitening, which is usually determined during their initial consultation with a dental professional. Those with gum disease or other oral health issues will also fail to qualify for the treatment.
In addition, individuals with crowns, veneers or fillings may want to consider an alternative route because this method does not alter the shade of their installations.
While some individuals experience no pain or discomfort following a teeth whitening procedure, others find their pearly whites are extremely sensitive for around two days. This sensation is commonly described by patients as sporadic, sharp shooting pains coming from the area.
Many dentists give patients a special gel or mousse to apply inside their mouths to help with this feeling, but it is still advisable to avoid hot or cold food and drinks within the first 48 hours of the treatment.
This course of action claims to whiten even the darkest areas of teeth and provides more reliable and dramatic results than home kits or alternative methods that may have been tried by many members of the public.
An impression of the pearly whites is initially taken by a dental professional to allow the deep bleaching trays to be produced. Then, each night for two weeks, the implements are to be worn in conjunction with a gentle whitening gel.
Following this on day 15, patients are asked to visit their dental practitioner for a one-hour treatment to whiten the teeth, which can result in them becoming 14 to 16 shades lighter.
In order to maintain this brighter appearance, individuals to ensure they wear their trays for one night every eight weeks after 95 per cent of tested cases were found to be successful. Furthermore, the effects of the bleaching can be permanent if the materials are used correctly.