What To Expect When The Dentist Whitens Your Teeth

When you use home kits to whiten your teeth, you have to be consistent over a period of weeks to see results. If you have a hard time keeping up with the routine and want to see results quicker, you should let your dentist whiten your teeth instead. Your dentist has access to stronger bleaching gel that you can't buy over the counter. You will see results after a single treatment. Here's how the procedure works.

Your Teeth Are Cleaned First

You'll need to have your teeth cleaned before they are whitened. You may do this the same day or a few days prior. Cleaning gets rid of plaque and tartar and will improve the appearance of your teeth too. Right before the dentist starts the teeth whitening procedure, he or she will probably buff your teeth one last time to make sure they are as clean as possible before your treatment begins.

Gum Protection Is Applied

Since the bleaching gel used by your dentist is so strong, care is taken to protect your gums and the insides of your cheeks and lips. Your dentist will apply a dental dam of some sort. It could be a rubber dam that your teeth poke through or your dentist may apply a liquid dam. The liquid dam is painted on your gums so it completely covers them even between your teeth. Then the liquid dries to form a material similar to wax or plastic that is peeled off when your procedure is finished. To protect your skin, the dentist may put a retractor in your mouth that holds your lips and cheeks away from your teeth.

The Whitening Process Begins

Next, your dentist applies the bleaching gel to the surface of your teeth. The gel is left in place for several minutes depending on how many shades you want your teeth to whiten. Your dentist might shine a laser light on the gel too, as this activates the bleach and causes it to work more effectively. At the end of the treatment, your teeth should be several shades lighter. Teeth whitening treatments work best on yellowish stains and stains caused by foods and drinks. If your teeth have dark stains caused by internal tooth damage, you may not see as much whitening as you want. Discoloration caused by medications or a tooth injury may need to be covered with a veneer if it doesn't respond to bleaching.

Work At Keeping Your Teeth White

Your teeth will gradually become stained again as you go about daily eating and drinking. To keep your teeth white for longer, try to avoid drinking coffee and tea that can stain your teeth. You'll probably want to stop smoking too, since smoking causes yellow stains. Your dentist may recommend you use bleaching trays at home to maintain your white teeth for as long as possible. Teeth whitening kits you use at home work, it just takes them much longer. However, if you are starting out with freshly whitened teeth, using a kit may help you maintain their bright appearance.