Professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that is designed to lighten the color of the teeth and remove deep stains and discoloration. The treatment involves the use of a bleaching agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which is applied to the surface of the teeth. This bleaching agent penetrates the pores in the enamel of the teeth and breaks down the molecules that are responsible for causing staining, resulting in a brighter, more vibrant smile.

Here is an in-depth look at the professional teeth whitening process, including what to expect during the treatment and how to maintain the results.

The Consultation

Before undergoing professional teeth whitening, you will need to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dentist. During this initial visit, the dentist will evaluate the condition of your teeth and gums to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. They will also discuss your goals for the treatment and help you understand the potential risks and benefits.

In some cases, the dentist may recommend alternative treatments, such as bonding or veneers, if they feel that these options would be more effective for achieving your desired results.

The Treatment

Professional teeth whitening is typically performed in two steps: an in-office treatment followed by at-home maintenance. The in-office treatment is often referred to as “power whitening” and is designed to provide more dramatic results in a shorter amount of time.

During the in-office treatment, the dentist will apply a protective gel or rubber shield to your gums to protect them from the bleaching agent. They will then apply the bleaching agent to the surface of the teeth and use a special light or laser to activate the bleach and accelerate the whitening process.

The entire in-office treatment usually takes about an hour to complete, and you may need to undergo several sessions to achieve your desired level of whitening.

After the in-office treatment, the dentist will provide you with a kit for at-home maintenance. This kit will typically include a custom-fitted tray and a supply of bleaching gel. The tray is designed to fit snugly over your teeth, and you will be instructed to wear it for a specific amount of time each day to maintain your results.

Maintaining the Results

To maintain your results, it is important to practice good oral hygiene and avoid habits that can cause staining, such as smoking and drinking dark-colored beverages. The dentist may also recommend touch-up treatments every few months to keep your teeth looking their best.

In addition, be sure to follow the instructions provided by the dentist for caring for your teeth and trays during the at-home maintenance phase of the treatment. Proper care of your teeth and trays can help to extend the lifespan of your results and ensure that you are getting the most out of your professional teeth whitening treatment.

Risks and Side Effects

Professional teeth whitening is generally considered to be safe, but there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of. These may include:

Sensitivity: Some people may experience temporary sensitivity in their teeth and gums following the treatment. This sensitivity is usually mild and will resolve on its own within a few days.

Irritation: In rare cases, the bleaching agent may cause irritation of the gums or other soft tissues in the mouth. If this occurs, the dentist can adjust the concentration of the bleach or the length of the treatment to reduce irritation.

Damage to restorations: Professional teeth whitening can cause damage to certain types of restorations, such as bonding or veneers.

Conclusion

Professional teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure that is designed to lighten the color of the teeth. While over-the-counter teeth whitening products are available, professional teeth whitening offers several benefits over these products, including the use of stronger bleaching agents, custom-fitted trays, and the guidance of a trained dental professional.