Teeth whitening is a dental procedure for the treatment of stained or discoloured teeth.
Most people’s teeth tend to darken with age, and there may be a number of reasons why teeth maybe discoloured:
- Discolouration may be due to intrinsic stains. These are stains acquired during teeth development e.g, from the use of tetracycline antibiotics during early childhood.
- Stains maybe extrinsic. These are the result of contact with foods such as tea, coffee and red wine or habits such as smoking.
What is involved in teeth whitening?
At S.J.Porter Dental, the procedure involves the use of a bleaching agent in a custom-fitted tray, which is worn overnight or for a few hours each day over a two week period.
The teeth whitening procedure involves an initial appointment for dental impressions and examination. A second appointment involves the fitting of the custom trays along with instructions and advice on how to use the gel and trays. Whitening gel is applied to the trays and the trays are worn overnight or for a minimum of three hours everyday for a minimum of two weeks. Occasionally it may take six weeks to achieve the desired change. We always recommend that you return for a follow–up appointment to check your progress.
You can read more about the gel we use, called Opalescence in the link: http://www.opalescence.com/au/take-home.aspx
What are the advantages and disadvantages of take-home teeth whitening
The take-home whitening procedure has a number of advantages over the one-hour whitening procedures which utilize a bright light. Even though the one hour-whitening can be achieved in one single visit and many patients would like an instant result, there may be problems with sensitivity and the initial brightness, following the appointment, may fade. You also need to use a take-home whitening kit in addition.
Because home whitening is a gradual process you can control the level of brightness. When you are happy with the colour of your teeth, you simply need to stop. For a natural appearance it is advised not to whiten too much.
Home- whitening trays can be used again if, in the future, you would like to re-brighten your smile. You simply need to purchase more whitening gel from the surgery. However, for most people, the need to re-whiten their teeth is not required for years.
There are some disadvantages to teeth whitening. Sensitivity is a problem with both one-hour whitening system and take-home whitening. Sensitivity is temporary in both cases but with take-home whitening it is easier to manage the sensitivity by taking a day’s break from whitening or by using sensitive toothpastes and other dental products.
As a temporary inconvenience you may need to avoid certain foods, such as red wine, and curries while you are going through the process of tooth whitening. You can return to all the foods you like after it is complete.
The whitening process does not lighten the colour of existing restorations so it is very important to have a routine examination prior to tooth whitening so you are aware of previous restorations. You may decide to replace visibly discoloured restorations once the whitening process is complete. The replacement of old restorations, following tooth whitening, are carried out a minimum of two week after you have finished whitening to achieve the best colour match.
For facts about teeth whitening visit the Australian Dental Association website on teeth whitening – www.teethwhiteningfacts.com.au