The dentist’s teeth whitening – carried out at home – over-the-counter treatment

Teeth whitening

Several patients wish to have a whiter and brighter smile. The bleaching of the natural teeth is a process which can satisfy this desire. The principal active ingredient of the treatment being the hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, bleaching can be carried out in various ways, such as:

  • Bleaching on the dentist’s chair
  • The bleaching carried out at home, under the supervision of the dentist
  • Over-the-counter bleaching products.

II is necessary to know that the natural colour of the teeth can be affected by an accumulation of dental plaque and of tartar which becomes coloured when a person frequently drinks red wine, tea or coffee or when he smokes. In this case, a cleaning and a polishing are enough to eliminate the spots induced by these factors. However, it is possible that the yellowish or greyish colour is either encrusted in the enamel and the dentine, because of either natural ageing of the teeth, the presence of decay(s), the consumption of tobacco or some type of medications. In these circumstances, bleaching can prove to be useful and show good results, depending on the colour of your teeth. Indeed, the people having the yellowish teeth have better results than those of a greyish colour. This greyish colour is usually induced when taking antibiotics such as the tetracycline or minocycline, two drugs used to treat infantile diseases or problems of acne. Unfortunately, although bleaching can improve the colour, it does not give however optimal results. Also, bleaching does not have any effect on the teeth which were restored with dental materials (white fillings) like on the crowns and the veneers.

Bleaching is thus carried out, only on the natural enamel of the healthy and permanent teeth. To do this, the dentist must initially proceed to the complete examination of the teeth, clean them and make sure that there are no or defective restorations before starting any treatment.

Bleaching on the dentist’s chair

This type of bleaching is done in a dental office, where the dentist isolates the teeth and protects the patient’s gums with a protective gel or a rubber dam. He then brackets on the teeth, a bleaching agent containing hydrogen peroxide having a concentration between 30 and 35%. He lets the product stand for a few minutes; he then removes and then does a second application.

A session generally lasts from 30 to 60 minutes and requires usually the repetition of these steps for 3 or 4 times. II can also be necessary to have to undergo a second session of bleaching.

The bleaching carried out at home, under the supervision of the dentist

The patient, who wishes to, can rely on this type of treatment which offers the advantage of being cheaper than the bleaching done at the dentist’s office, but which as a longer processing period. 

The dentist takes initially a print of the teeth of the patient in order to manufacture a stone model. This model will be useful further down the line, to manufacture a tailored plastic tray, ideally suited to the teeth of the patient, in order to restrict flow of the gel. The tray is then filled with gel usually containing 10% carbamide peroxide. The person then carries out his treatment during the day or night, what is more suitable for them, according to the duration period determined by the dentist.

The treatment spreads out on average over two weeks, according to achieved and expected results. The most common side effects are sensitivity to heat and/or to cold, as well as an irritation of the gums. These effects disappear in most cases, when the treatment ends. Thereafter, it is necessary to counter the residual effects; the patient will be able to fill his tray with neutral fluorine or a special toothpaste such as Sensodyne for 30 minutes for several days.

Over-the-counter bleaching products.

These products can be found in supermarkets and pharmacies. Normally, the dentist recommends them in the case of light discolouration or as first treatments. These products are available in the form of gel, liquid to apply with a brush or self-adhesive band. Their active agent is normally the hydrogen peroxide, here in a weaker concentration than the professional ones used by the dentists. These products have various results depending on the type of product and can prove to be useful, when used occasionally for the maintenance of the results obtained in the dental office.

Composite Veneer

The composite veneer is manufactured directly on the spot, by the dentist, and directly shaped on the tooth. Only one appointment is necessary for this procedure which will give this sparkle to your smile and will hide the imperfections.

Porcelain Veneer

The porcelain veneer has the same function as the composite veneer. However, it is manufactured in a laboratory. 

The porcelain veneer is thin; it is made up of moulded shells for your tooth and cemented on the front of the tooth. Two appointments will be required for a complete procedure: a first for the preparation of the tooth and the impression-taking which will be used for the veneers in the laboratory. The second appointment will consist of the professional cementing the veneer on your tooth.

Having a natural appearance, the porcelain veneer is solid, is more resistant to stains compared to composite veneer and has a longer lifespan. 

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