Teeth whitening is one of the simplest ways to improve your smile. It can be either done at home i.e. In-house whitening or by a dentist i.e. In-office whitening.
There are several home remedies for teeth whitening:
- Whitening toothpaste: It contains abrasive particles that remove external stains. It can be called teeth polishing rather than teeth bleaching. It requires the long-term use and has a few side effects such as enamel abrasion, roughening of teeth surface, etc.
- Whitening strips: They are easy to use and are reasonably priced. They have to be applied to the teeth and allowed to stay there for the duration of 30 minutes. It can be repeated multiple times a day to obtain the best results. The shade of your teeth would appear whiter with consistent use. They contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide that bleaches the teeth.
- Whitening gels: They are low-concentration hydrogen peroxide gels that are applied to the teeth using a tray. They are usually allowed to stay on the teeth for 2 to 8 hours.
- Whitening rinses: They are like mouthwashes that help freshen the breath and also in treating gum diseases. They also contain hydrogen peroxide and can bleach the teeth.
In office whitening
It is done by a dentist and is more expensive than home remedies. However, it saves loads of time and provides great results that can be seen immediately after the treatment. It is usually done in a single visit.
There are two types of teeth whitening:
- Chemical bleaching
- Light-activated bleaching
Both procedures use whitening gels containing the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide as the main ingredient.
Chemical bleaching is carried out by using a syringe to apply the whitening gel onto the surface of the teeth. It is allowed to stay on the teeth for several minutes, before being washed away. This step can be repeated until the desired shade of the teeth is achieved. It usually requires 2 to 3 applications.
Light-activated bleaching follows the same procedure but uses a certain wavelength of light as an activating source. This method gives better results as it can impart brighter teeth.
There is also a special type of teeth whitening (Internal bleaching) done to the teeth after root canal treatment.
Post teeth whitening care
Sometimes, there could be temporary tooth sensitivity that lasts for a day after the procedure. The patient would be advised to use a desensitizing gel.
Colored foods and drinks should be avoided for a few days after the procedure to avoid staining the teeth.
How long can teeth whitening last?
Teeth whitening is not permanent. It can last up to several months and can be repeated once or twice a year if desired.