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Tooth whitening, also known as bleaching, is a straightforward and non-invasive dental procedure designed to alter the natural color of tooth enamel, enhancing the beauty of your smile.
Given that many patients prioritize having whiter teeth, various methods have been developed to achieve this goal. The most popular approach involves using a home tooth whitening system, which can significantly brighten teeth. It’s important to note that tooth whitening exclusively affects natural tooth enamel, so it’s necessary to assess and potentially replace any old fillings, crowns, or other dental restorations after the bleaching process to ensure they match the newly whitened teeth.
It’s essential to understand that teeth whitening is not a permanent solution. Periodic touch-ups may be required every few years, especially for individuals who smoke or consume staining substances like coffee, tea, or wine.
Common reasons for tooth whitening include fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development), wear of the outer tooth layer, and teeth staining due to medications (such as tetracycline), resulting in yellow or brown discoloration.
The tooth whitening process typically involves two visits to the dentist. During the first appointment, molds (impressions) of your teeth are taken to create customized clear plastic trays.
At the second appointment, you try on the trays to ensure a proper fit, with necessary adjustments made if required. These trays are filled with a special whitening solution and worn either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a few weeks, depending on the extent of staining and the desired level of whitening. It’s common to experience tooth sensitivity while undergoing the whitening process, but this discomfort usually subsides shortly after the bleaching treatment is discontinued.
After the procedure, you’ll receive specific care instructions for your teeth and trays. Regular dental check-ups are encouraged to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, and white smile.