Have you tried whitening your teeth with over-the-counter toothpaste, but are unhappy with the results? Or perhaps you simply want to improve the appearance of your smile in preparation for an event like a wedding or graduation?
In either case, it may be worth approaching a dentist Bondi Junction about having your teeth professionally whitened.
But understandably many dental patients have concerns about dental whitening due to rumours about oral sensitivity and longevity of the results. In this brief guide, tooth whitening will be explored and any concerns you have about the associated sensitivity will hopefully be assuaged. So, read on!
Tooth whitening; how is it done?
Dental whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in dental surgeries and for this reason a lot of research has gone into determining the best ways to carry it out. The first thing that your dental team will have to consider before whitening your teeth is the type of staining that you have. Most people who have discoloured or yellow teeth have surface staining bought on by consuming foods high in tannins or smoking cigarettes.
If your staining is due to fluorosis or medication, then this is a deeper-rooted stain that will need a different type of whitening to remove.
If you have surface staining to your enamel then your dental team will probably try to remove it using bleaching or oxidising gels.
This typically involves the gel being painted onto your teeth and light is used to activate the oxidising agents within the gel. The number of times the gel is applied depends on how white you want the final result to be and the extent of the staining.
Your dental team may also give you a set of custom-fitted whitening trays to use at home. Using a weaker version of the gel used in the surgery, you can apply these gels to the trays and wear them overnight. Typically this stage of whitening will continue for around 2 weeks before you head back to the dental surgery to have the in-surgery procedure repeated
The removal of deeply set stains using abrasion or grinding is less common in dental surgeries due to the potential damage it can cause to the enamel and the sensitivity issues associated with it.
However, if your dental team decides to use this treatment a drill will be used to remove the surface staining and the deepest stains in the tooth, which can be a long process. In most cases, deeply set stains cannot be removed from the tooth and other options such as veneers or composite bonding need to be considered.
As mentioned before many patients have concerns about dental sensitivity following whitening procedures.
Some methods which are used in dental surgeries contain agents which will prevent sensitivity occurring in the tooth. But if you suffer from sensitive teeth before having your teeth whitened then you should inform your dental team and they can assess your suitability for a gel-based procedure.
If you have had your teeth whitened at a dental surgery using a gel it is normal for there to be some minor sensitivity for a few days. If this does not resolve, you should talk to your dental team.
Dental whitening can last from between 3 months to 3 years depending on if you top up the treatment with at-home gels and your lifestyle. If you smoke, drink red wine or black coffee, you can expect the results to be shorter lived.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.