Teeth Whitening: Understanding The Professional Bleaching Method

Undergoing teeth whitening using the professional bleaching method can lighten the colour of your teeth by several shades. This form of teeth whitening is carried out by a dentist or dental hygienist, and before you undergo treatment, your dentist will examine your teeth to ensure you're a suitable candidate for professional bleaching.

Teeth whitening treatments aren't effective on dentures, crowns or veneers, which typically have to be replaced after a whitening treatment if you want them to match the shade of your natural teeth. Your dentist may also recommend against having your teeth whitened if you have gum disease or worn enamel, as the chemicals used to lighten your teeth can exacerbate the symptoms of these conditions.

What To Expect From Professional Bleaching

When you use the professional bleaching method to whiten your teeth, the active ingredient will be either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaching agents release oxygen as the chemicals break down and penetrate your tooth enamel, and this deep penetration results in long-lasting stain removal and lightening of the enamel. The treatment isn't painful, but some patients experience mild irritation around the gum line. The professional bleaching method requires a few weeks of either using a professional-grade product at home or visiting your dentist's surgery regularly, depending on whether you're undergoing external or internal bleaching.

The effects of professional bleaching can last from several months to a few years, and how you care for your teeth can influence how long the results last. Your dentist can give you specific aftercare advice, but avoiding smoking and foods that stain your teeth, such as coffee, red wine and chocolate, can keep your teeth looking whiter for longer. Additionally, practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly to have plaque and surface stains removed from your teeth can help extend the results of professional bleaching.

External Bleaching

External bleaching is used to lighten the surfaces of your teeth and requires one or two visits to your dentist's office to be fitted with a mouth tray that's custom-made to cover your teeth and protect your gums from the bleaching solution. Your dentist will demonstrate how to use the bleaching product with the mouth tray, and you will have to wear the mouth tray daily for a fixed time specified by your dentist over a period of a few weeks. Your dentist will review the results of your treatment, but you can contact them at any time should you have questions or if you experience any irritation while using the bleaching product.

Internal Bleaching

If you've previously had a root canal treatment that's caused the treated tooth to become discoloured due to loss of nerve tissue and soft pulp, you can improve the colour of the tooth using the internal bleaching method. This treatment requires several trips to your dentist's office, and during each appointment, your dentist will open the hole in the affected tooth that was previously used to carry out the root canal procedure. They will insert bleaching product into the cavity of the tooth and seal the tooth to allow the bleach to work. The bleach is regularly freshened up over a period of a few weeks to ensure it continues to work, and at the end of treatment, your dentist will seal the hole in your tooth with a composite filling that matches the shade of your tooth.

There are several reasons your teeth can become discoloured over time, such as smoking, the use of certain antibiotics or a build-up of tartar, and discolouration can impact your self-confidence. If you'd like to find out more about teeth whitening using the professional bleaching method, schedule a consultation with your dentist.