Teeth Whitening

What is the procedure for teeth whitening? What can we really expect from teeth whitening?
There are several procedures available but in each case the teeth whitening procedure must be preceded by a professional oral hygienic cleaning. During this oral hygienic cleaning process we remove the dental tartar and the rough discolouring (caused for example by smoking) from the teeth’s surface. Since this latter procedure is only possible in the consulting room we can generally say that tooth whitening is the safest and most effective if it is done under the strict surveillance of the dentist. If it is done in the consulting room, teeth whitening takes at least one hour. After careful preparation (protection of the soft parts, gums, eyes) we apply a gel containing a high concentration (30-35 %) of peroxide on the teeth’s surface, which is then exposed to the light of a high-powered lamp or laser. Due to the effect of the light the whitening effect speeds up. The cost of this type of procedure is approximately double of a home procedure. If it is done at home, the patient gets a splint that fits on his/her teeth. The patient has to apply this splint on his/her teeth, after filling it up with the whitening gel provided by the dentist. It is recommended to put on the splints for the entire night. If this is done then the treatment lasts for approximately one week. If the patient cannot or does not want to wear the splints during the night then the splints have to be worn for at least four hours during the day. In this case the treatment can last up to three weeks. Nobody can predict for sure what the outcome of the process will be, because every case is unique. In general we can say that teeth with a grey discolouration are much harder to whiten than yellowish teeth, which can be whitened much easier and have a more spectacular result. The achieved results can be maintained for 1-5 years but this time period is influenced by many factors such as smoking, and the consumption of coffee and tea. However, you must know that the colour of tooth fillings, crowns, and dental prostheses does not change in the course of the whitening process. This means that after finishing the whitening process it might be necessary to change the fillings, or those parts of the dental prostheses that differ significantly in colour from the new tooth colour. In the case of home whitening it might be practical to keep the whitening tray so that you can reuse it in the future.
re there any side effects?
The teeth can temporarily become sensitive to cold or you might experience a slight gum irritation. Generally, we can say that tooth whitening made under the dentist’s supervision is safe.