Tooth Whitening

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					Tooth Whitening
There are a number of different ways to whiten teeth. There are two main choices.
One is professional bleaching which requires visiting a hygienist and the second is over the counter whitening i.e. buying it from a retail store. There are 3 different ways to bleach teeth:   Chair side bleaching, which involves getting your teeth, bleached in usually a single visit. Supervised at-home-whitening where the hygienist takes moulds of your teeth and fabricates custom-made bleaching trays, which you use at home with a professional strength-bleaching agent. Purchase Professional strength Oral B Rembrandt Whitening Strips. This is the same as the strips you can buy in retail stores but it is a professional strength and therefore more effective.


Chair side bleaching can be done in two ways. The hygienist uses a very strong
bleaching agent alone or in combination with a light/laser. With both, the hygienist cleans your teeth with a sandy, pumice-like material to remove plaque and cleans the surface of the tooth. Then a peroxide-based gel is applied after which a light may be applied to assist the whitening process. Some gels are self-activating and others are activated and by the use of a light. The laser does NOT whiten teeth. It merely activates the bleaching gel and initiates the chemical reaction that produces the whitening effect (the laser doesn't actually penetrate the teeth). The procedure takes about an hour and a half and offers immediate results, although it may take more than one session to achieve the desired level of bleaching.

The at-home bleaching method requires a
visit to your hygienist for impressions of your teeth followed by an appointment to get fitted for your custom mouth trays. You will fill the tray with a bleaching gel provided by your hygienist and wear the combination either overnight or hourly depending on the strength of the bleach dispensed. The most effective way to whiten teeth is to see a hygienist.

There are over-the-counter options available for tooth whitening. However, because they are intended to be used in an unsupervised fashion, to avoid the potential of damage to the teeth and gums the bleaching agents they contain are significantly weaker than those that can be obtained through a dental professional. Therefore, the results you might expect from these products are significantly limited as well. Without custom-made trays, the whitening mould is large and uncomfortable, and can result in uneven colour. Also the whitening stuff is not confined to the mould and tends to go everywhere.

No matter which method you choose, how white your teeth will get depends on
what color they are to begin with and the source of the discoloration. Brown or yellow teeth (often the result of superficial staining caused by smoking, coffee, and tea) will usually get four to five shades whiter. Gray teeth (caused not by stains but by pigment deep inside the tooth) will lighten less -- two to three shades at best. To determine the initial color of your teeth, compare them to a sheet of bright white computer paper held up to your mouth.

Chair side bleaching is the fastest but also the most expensive -- anywhere from
$400 to $1,000 per session -- and sometimes requires more than one session. Takehome professional bleaching kits cost anywhere from $200 to $500, and can be used on your own schedule. Over-the-counter options, as you might expect, are the least expensive, but again, tend to have limited effectiveness. The most common side effect of any of these procedures is sensitivity to hot and cold, but that lasts only while you are using the bleach and tends to persist for 1-2 days.

If there's little chance that you'll remember to pop in a mouth tray every night, or if
you are impatient to see results, chair side bleaching may be a better option for you. This method also allows the hygienist to treat teeth individually, which is ideal if you have veneers or teeth that vary in shade.

With proper aftercare, whitened teeth can stay bright for up to three and a half
years. To keep your smile bright as long as possible, try to avoid food and drink that may cause staining to your teeth.

Keep Your Smile Awhile!

Harbour City Dental Hygiene Group Inc. 629 Wentworth Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 3E6 Phone: 250-754-3885 Email: