Why is tooth whitening done?
Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure done to reduce stains and discolouration of teeth or to provide brighter and whiter teeth. Teeth whitening can be done by
  • Vital whitening
        - Britesmile teeth whitening (in-office)
        - Laser bleaching (in-office)
  • Non–vital whitening
  • Custom fit tray bleaching (in-home)
Teeth enamel discoloration is caused by staining, aging, genetic factors, and chemical reactions caused by medications, tea, coffee, cigarettes etc.

When is tooth whitening done?
Tooth whitening is done when the following occur
  • discoloured or stained teeth
  • teeth with intrinsic stains

Who are good candidates for tooth whitening?
  • Candidates who have permanent teeth
  • A professional cleaning to remove external staining caused by food and tobacco
  • Candidates with yellow teeth as they respond best to bleaching while brown or grey teeth, or teeth striped or mottled from tetracycline or too much fluoride, may not whiten evenly when bleached
  • Candidates without periodontal disease or particularly sensitive teeth
  • Candidates without tooth-coloured fillings, crowns, caps or bonding in the front teeth
  • Candidates who wish to improve their external appearance
  • Candidates who are physically healthy, psychologically healthy and have realistic expectations from the procedure
  • Candidates who seek improvement rather than perfection

What are the risks and complications of the procedure?
  • Side effects ranging from increased tooth sensitivity to pain and tenderness in the gums, tongue and other soft tissues
  • Over-bleaching causing translucency that may appear grey from the shadows of the mouth
  • Ingesting the gel administered by the dentist during home bleaching resulting in nausea, vomiting or burning

What are the pre-treatment procedures?
  • During the initial consultation, a thorough discussion on the expectations of the patient is understood
  • The dental history, complete medical history and x rays are taken
  • Photographs are taken for further comparison after procedure.
  • The doctor discusses and advises on options of treatment, type of facilities, risks, limitations and cost with the patient.
  • For home bleaching, the dentist takes impressions of the patient’s teeth during the first consultation to create a perfectly fitted mouthpiece or custom fitted home trays.
  • Cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened

How is the procedure done?
  • Vital Whitening
         - The translucent bleaching gel is applied to the teeth
         - A high intensity light or laser is directed at the teeth that activates the bleaching agent
The procedure takes 45 minutes to two hours to complete
  • Non-vital whitening
         - If the tooth has had a root canal, the solution can be placed on the outside as well as the inside of the tooth.
         - The bleaching solution is placed inside the tooth and the opening is sealed with a temporary filling.
         - The solution inside the tooth is changed about once a week.
  • Custom fit tray bleaching (in-home)
         - At the first appointment, the dentist takes impressions of the patient’s teeth and then creates a perfectly fitted mouthpiece.
         - The custom made plastic tray made is taken home
         - A small amount of the bleaching gel is placed in the tray and worn for about one to two hours per day.
         - Home bleaching can take from one to three weeks to achieve maximum results

What are the post treatment symptoms?
  • Patients may experience little if any discomfort, which should subside within 24 hours for which an over-the- anti-inflammatory may be prescribed.
  • If the discomfort lasts for more than 2 – 3 days, the patient must contact the dentist
  • Home bleaching can take from one to three weeks to achieve maximum results

What are the post treatment guidelines to be followed?
  • Patients should avoid foods that stain, such as tobacco and red wine for about a week
  • Patients must keep the teeth clean with flossing and brushing to maintain whiteness.
  • Tooth bleaching lasts, on average, about 1-3 years
  • The patient must go for a follow up for the dentist to check the gums.
  • In case of home bleaching, the patient must schedule an appointment with the dentist after a week to check to make sure the process is working properly
  • Patients who avoid staining foods and drinks may be able to wait six to 12 months before another whitening treatment is needed.
  • Patients with a custom-made mouthpiece and whitening agent at home can whiten their teeth as frequently as they want to after discussing the whitening schedule with the dentist

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