As more people strive to acquire brighter smiles, teeth whitening is increasingly becoming popular. A 2020 research shows approximately 37 million individuals in the United States used tooth whiteners. 

If you struggle to smile in social gatherings due to discolored teeth, this cosmetic dental procedure might help. 

Read this detailed guide to learn more.

How Teeth Whitening Treatment Works

Professionals use active agents, such as carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, to whiten teeth. Studies show the chemicals are effective and safe if not misused or overused. People have used hydrogen peroxide for many years to bleach teeth effectively. This chemical oxidizes your tooth’s dentin and enamel, resulting in brighter and whiter teeth.

Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments

If you have discolored teeth, there are several practical and cost-effective teeth whitening services to consider, including:

In-Chair Teeth Whitening

An in-chair procedure is performed by a qualified dentist. This is the most effective and fastest treatment and requires one to two hours. If looking for quick results, this option is the best.

Your hygienist or dentist applies a protective gel to your gums and lips, followed by a whitening gel containing hydrogen peroxide. They then activate using a unique LED light. The time it takes for the procedure depends on your teeth whiteness goal and stain depth.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening

It is a more time-consuming whitening treatment. First, your dentist will create impressions of your mouth to create a custom-fitted set of molds. 

Depending on your usage, they provide whitening gel and trays that last six months. You should have enough for the given period. If you need more gel refills, they’re available at your request.

Over-the-Counter Products

If your schedule is tight and you don’t have time to book appointments with your dental professional, over-the-counter products may help. This treatment option may seem more practical and affordable than visiting a dentist. Each product has specific guidelines, and you should read and follow them to gain optimal benefits.

However, experts recommend consulting a board-certified dental professional before teeth whitening. This determines whether you have underlying dental issues to address before the treatment. Your dental expert recommends appropriate and safe products for effective whitening. 

Considering over-the-counter products after an in-chair treatment is best, as this amplifies professional treatment for a brighter smile.

Maintaining Your Teeth After Whitening

Your teeth whitening lifespan depends on multiple factors. These include the habits that led to the staining and your lifestyle. Typically, it takes several years before the discoloration reappears. Some whitening techniques provide home touch-up kits to enhance the whiteness. This allows you to maintain your smile and achieve long-lasting results.

Candidacy for Teeth Whitening

Individuals with yellow or stained teeth looking for a brighter smile might qualify for this cosmetic procedure. Tooth whitening is an excellent solution if you feel shy about smiling when interacting in social gatherings due to discoloration. 

Consult with a professional to check whether you have underlying dental health issues that need treatment before the procedure.

Essential FAQs

Can Tooth Whitening Compromise My Oral Health?

Appropriate tooth whitening techniques don’t damage the enamel. Research shows products with recommended carbamide peroxide percentage don’t affect tooth surface or damage filings. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) recommends you get the service from a qualified dental expert for maximum benefits without potential issues.

Is Tooth Whitening Painful?

The level of tooth sensitivity, discomfort, and pain you experience during the procedure depends on your chosen method. Other factors include how your teeth respond to the treatment and bleaching product quality. Teeth sensitivity after the procedure is temporary and should not be a significant concern. Consult your dentist to establish the best treatment method for your tooth whitening goal.

Can I Smoke After the Procedure?

Professionals recommend avoiding smoking for about 24 hours following teeth whitening. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth after smoking.

Can I Drink Coffee After the Treatment?

Avoid dark-colored beverages and foods for about 48 hours after treatment. This protects your teeth as, at this time, the enamel is porous and absorbs color much faster.

Does Tooth Whitening Work on Veneers or Dentures?

This procedure works on the tooth’s natural enamel. It doesn’t work on restorations like bridges, veneers, bonding, crowns, dentures, and tooth-colored fillings. Replace pre-existing dental treatments to match the whiteness level you achieve with this treatment.