What is Dental Whitening?
Dental whitening is a process used in clinics and salons all over the world to remove dental stains by gently bleaching the teeth back to a natural shade of white. Treatments like this are very popular, as they have no surgical element and do not come with a very high risk factor; they also boast a very high rate of success. The whitening process works so well because it doesn’t use harsh abrasives to try and scrub the stains away, instead it relies on a small percentage of peroxide, which breaks down the dark molecules and restores the enamel to a more pleasing finish, this is much gentler on outer layers of the teeth, and requires much less work.
The modern method of dental whitening is very different to out-dated techniques, which could often be very harmful to the teeth, even stripping away the enamel in some cases. This is firstly because they used abrasives in an attempt to remove the stains – often unsuccessfully – and secondly, the procedure is much more effective when carried out in a professional environment, by a trained individual. The Pearl Dental Clinic has a team of fully-qualified employees, who are experienced with all kinds of dental conditions; give them a call if you want some advice on how to proceed with tooth whitening, or to book an appointment.
What happens when I go in for treatment?
Your initial consultation will involve your dentist checking your teeth for any signs of infection or disease, which would make you an unsuitable candidate for dental whitening – no reputable dentist would be prepared to carry out cosmetic enhancement on unhealthy teeth. This is not a painful examination, and there will be no needles or surgical equipment required. If your dentist finds the condition of your teeth unsatisfactory, they should recommend further treatment, to deal with problems such as tooth decay or gum disease – there’s no point whitening teeth that are already at risk, you need to have the issues dealt with before they deteriorate further.
If you dentist deems you suitable for dental whitening, they will begin by thoroughly cleaning your mouth out, to make sure there are no bacterial deposits or food particles hidden in hard to reach areas. In some clinics, an oral hygienist will be called in to perform this part of the treatment, but it’s also perfectly normal for your dentist to carry out the cleaning.
When the teeth have been fully prepared, the bleaching gel can be applied in a generous layer – usually only to the front teeth that will be visible when you smile, and the dentist must be careful to avoid getting any of it on the gums or other soft tissues in the mouth, as the bleach can cause slight burns. Thankfully, most certified clinics use professional grade, high viscosity gel, which stays in place on the teeth, rather than sliding around onto the gums. The gel is then exposed to a curing light for a period of about twenty minutes, so that it can go to work breaking down the stains. After the first application is completed, a second and third are then added, this gives the patient the maximum results, in under an hour. The solution is then removed and the teeth given another clean, to remove any residue and to make sure they are polished to perfection before you leave the clinic.
If you have deep layers of staining that have built up over some time, it may be necessary to return to the surgery for further treatment, but most patients will find that a single session should be enough to give them the whiter smile they are looking for. Your dentist will be able to advise you on what steps to take following your procedure, and you should always listen to their instructions carefully, they are trained to know what’s best for you and your health. They may provide you with a home whitening kit, which can be used once or twice a year, just to keep your teeth looking their whitest, and so you don’t have to keep returning to the clinic for a top-up.
Why would I need dental whitening?
Everyone’s teeth darken as they get older, it’s just part of the natural aging process, and while it can’t be avoided, it can be undone to some extent with a dental whitening treatment. Stains appear on our teeth as time passes, due to the softening of the enamel and the porous nature of the minerals that make up their structure – they can’t repel dark molecules as well as they did in youth. Of course, it doesn’t help if you indulge in heavy drinking and smoking, or you eat a lot of foods with dark colorants in them; this will definitely have some effect on the appearance of your teeth, and will make you look older than you actually are.
Not all discolouration comes from the outside, there are some systemic illnesses that cause stains to develop from inside the body, which is very difficult to prevent – especially when a person is taking strong antibiotics. The nerve signals that travel from the brain to the teeth are disrupted, and the minerals are not replenished correctly, leading to stains of various colours; pink, orange, brown, grey, and even purple. Fortunately, dental whitening isn’t affected by the origin of the stains; it treats them all in the same way, and can significantly improve most types of discolouration.
Is dental whitening expensive?
For a good quality whitening treatment, you’re probably going to have to spend three or four hundred pounds; this might sound expensive, but it’s still one of the cheaper restorative techniques out there – it costs much less than veneers or implants. If you really want to improve your smile, don’t scrimp on cosmetic procedures, or you’re likely to end up with a disappointing result, you don’t have to spend thousands to see some improvement, but you should be prepared to save some money beforehand.