Whitening is a harmless, quick, simple and cost effective way to brighten your smile. A brighter smile can emanate a feeling of confidence, improved self-esteem, and make your oral health a higher priority. This is beneficial to your general well-being.
The procedure is either an at home or in office procedure taking 1 1/2 – 2 weeks or 1 1/2 hours respectively. The dental hygienists at Harbour City Dental Hygiene can recommend appropriate information to ensure your whitening process is a positive one.
There are 3 different ways to bleach teeth:
- Chair side bleaching (In-Office), which involves getting your teeth bleached by the hygienist 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 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.
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. Supervised At-home 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 is 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.