Understanding the Steps of Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Photo - LocateADoc.comIf you're looking for a bright smile, you'll want to consider teeth whitening. Your dentist can do all the heavy lifting, so to speak, but you may wonder what exactly goes into this popular procedure. Here, we'll outline the process and shed light on modern teeth whitening.In order to get rid of stains, dentists use a carbamide or hydrogen peroxide treatment. Depending on your specific situation, your dentist may do the entire process in the office or may elect to have you do some of the process at home.

The first step of an appointment will be to thoroughly clean and inspect the mouth. If any cavities are discovered, they'll be filled immediately. If the gums show any signs of being unhealthy your dentist will discuss those issues with you prior to starting the teeth whitening process.

Most dentists then use a special pumice to further clean each individual tooth. Following that, a protective barrier will be placed on the gums. A customized paste, containing between 15 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, will be applied to the teeth and will stay there for several minutes. After rinsing it off, the same paste will be applied again. The dentist may complete this cycle several times during one 30- to 45-minute treatment. Some dentists choose to pulse high-powered light on the mouth area as well. In this small amount of time, your teeth could become four to six shades whiter.

In the cases in which the dentist recommends at-home treatment, he or she will first take molds of the patient's mouth. Custom mouth trays are made, and a gel containing approximately 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide gel is prescribed. The patient applies the gel at home and wears the trays for a few hours or overnight to keep it in place. This process can take as long as six weeks.

Check out additional information on teeth whitening in our resource section.

Further Reading

  • For the thousands of Americans  considering plastic or cosmetic surgery in 2010, procedure such as tummy tucks, breast implants and Botox treatments are surprisingly lower on the list than teeth whitening.

  • If you’ve been to the dentist lately and picked up a tooth whitening kit, make sure you’re aware of the downsides of bleaching your teeth.A recent study shows that many people actually lose some of their tooth enamel after using home teeth-whitening kits for a significant period of time.The chemicals in the tooth whitening products can actually break down the enamel and cause more damage to the teeth.

  • Teeth whitening procedures have become one of the leading trends in cosmetic dentistry, allowing many of us to enjoy gleaming white teeth after just one session.