Teeth whitening is a long established dental practice, and it continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures around. The reasons for its popularity are obvious. White teeth give off an impression of health, youth, glamour and hygiene. On the other hand, yellowed and brown teeth can often give an impression of poor health and lack of hygiene.
All of these are of course ridiculous—white teeth aren’t actually a sure sign of good dental health—but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone wants white teeth. All of the movie stars, models and high profile people have beaming smiles so why shouldn’t you enjoy one?
Well, with in-chair teeth whitening it is possible to gain a whiter smile. But how exactly does in-chair teeth whitening work?
There are a variety of teeth whitening methods but the most effective and widely used form is known as light accelerated whitening. This type of whitening works chiefly through the combination of hydrogen peroxide and laser light. The hydrogen peroxide is applied in the form of a gel and the laser light is then applied to excite the molecules, which bleach the teeth.
The combination of the light and peroxide means that the whole process moves a lot faster than other at-home procedures, which require the hydrogen peroxide to be applied to the teeth for a long period of time.
The beauty of this method is that it only requires one appointment and the results are visible right away.
In-Chair and At-Home
In-chair and at-home teeth whitening methods use the same technology, except that the at-home methods don’t use a light source. As such, the whitening process takes a lot longer when using the at-home methods. The at-home procedures are less expensive than in-chair procedures but for those with severe discolouration the in-chair procedure will provide far quicker results.
How Effective Is It?
Teeth whitening is a tried and tested option for lightening teeth colour. However, its effectiveness varies from person to person. For those that have suffered severe dental trauma or decay, the teeth may be so damaged that bleaching them won’t change the colour. In this case, veneers may be a better option.
Can Everyone Have Their Teeth Whitened?
Teeth whitening is a completely safe procedure, however as with most medical and dental procedures there are some underlying conditions, which may preclude some patients. Some of these conditions include:
- Acid erosion
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
- Hydrogen peroxide sensitivity
- Tooth decay
- Anyone younger than 16
- People with visible fillings, veneers and crowns
Possible Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
All treatments and procedures carry possible side effects. When it comes to teeth whitening, side effects are incredibly rare and rarely serious but it’s worth talking to your dentist if you’re worried about any of the following:
- Mucous Membrane Irritation: Hydrogen peroxide can potentially irritate the tissue in the mouth and gums. This most commonly occurs during at-home treatment as the bleaching agent leaks out and comes into contact with the tissue.
- Hypersensitivity: This is the most common side effect of teeth whitening and it typically stops soon after treatment. If it doesn’t your dentist can provide you with treatment options that are very effective.
- Spots: This is more of an aesthetic issue than a medical issue but it is quite normal for the colour to be uneven soon after treatment. The colour will usually even out but it is important you avoid food and beverages that stain your teeth to prevent uneven colouring.
- Damage to Enamel: Some over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments can affect tooth enamel. This is usually caused by whiteners containing fruit acids and abrasives such as baking soda. In-chair treatments only use hydrogen peroxide so damage to enamel is not usually a problem with this type of treatment.
In-chair treatment is a relatively simple procedure that offers great results. Just keep in mind that the procedure is entirely aesthetic—it won’t improve your overall health or wellbeing, and it won’t improve your dental hygiene or make your teeth healthier.
If you’d like to advantage of our in-chair teeth whitening procedure, then simply contact Dr Olstein’s surgery to find out more.