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What actually happens when you get your teeth whitened?

You may have seen movie stars or your friends achieve brighter smiles with teeth whitening — but how does the procedure actually work? Our dentist in Burnaby explains how the teeth whitening process helps change the shade of your teeth. 

What is teeth whitening?

As we age, our teeth naturally grow darker. This gradual shift in colour can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic tooth discolouration is often a result of lifestyle or environmental factors such as drinking dark beverages including alcohol, coffee or tea, smoking, and eating certain foods. Intrinsic tooth discolouration is typically the result of damage, trauma or the use of certain medications.

Peroxide-based bleaching agents are used in professional teeth whitening treatments to lighten the colour of your teeth and reduce the appearance of surface stains. Oxygen acts on tooth enamel and creates a whitening effect as the peroxide breaks down. 

Professional Teeth Whitening at Our Office

Professional teeth whitening in the dental office is a popular treatment for many patient, as the process can usually be completed in one or two sessions. 

During your in-office whitening treatment, the dentist will start by placing a rubber shield over your gums to protect them from the whitening solution.

Next, they will apply the bleaching solution to your teeth with a small brush-like applicator. The solution will be left to work on your teeth for 15 minutes under a low-heat lamp. Your hygienist will then clear the solution and repeat the application process.

This process usually takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. For some patients, one session may be enough, but depending on your specific case, you may require more treatments to achieve the whitening effect you had in mind.

Professional Teeth Whitening At Home

Look up “how to whiten teeth” online and you’ll soon find a wide range of at-home teeth whitening options. While these present one alternative, they are not quite as strong or as effective as the teeth whitening kits used in dental offices.

The teeth whitening solutions we offer come with custom whitening trays and specific instructions about how to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you’ll have your dentist to supervise the process, and your teeth whitening cost may be somewhat less than with the in-office solution.

To begin, you’ll first need to visit the dentist so an impression of your teeth can be taken in order to create custom whitening trays to fit your smile. You’ll use these trays at home to apply the whitening solution yourself.

Once your trays are ready, you will return to the dentist’s office to confirm they are a good fit. Next, you’ll be sent home with the trays, the whitening solution, and clear instructions from your dentist.

At home, you’ll wear the trays for about 30 minutes every day for approximately 2 weeks, until you achieve the desired level of whiteness. Then, you can use the whitening solution to touch up your smile every 6 months or so.

Want to find out more about Marine Way Dental Centre's teeth whitening options? Contact our Burnaby dentist today to schedule a consultation.

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