How Your Family Dentist Does Teeth Whitening

The family dentist is the go-to health practitioner for issues relating to the health and well-being of the teeth, mouth and oral cavity. The family dentist attends to the dental problems of every family member irrespective of age and may refer a family member to a dental specialist if necessary.

Teeth whitening is one of the primary roles of the family dentist. As part of natural ageing, the teeth become more discoloured as we get older. In addition, some of the food and drinks we consume stain the surface of our teeth. Smoking is also recognised as a cause of teeth staining, especially if the individual has been smoking for some time.

Teeth whitening is therefore one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures undertaken by the family dentist. It brightens the smile and enhances the self-confidence of an individual. In order to maintain the bright colour of the teeth, the procedure needs to be repeated from time to time.

Teeth whitening can be done at the dental office or at home. The process begins with the examination of the oral cavity to identify pre-existing dental problems which may adversely affect its success. Dental cavities may need to be treated first or a dental crown may be required to protect what is left of a tooth after having a root filling.

A photograph of the teeth before the procedure begins may be helpful for monitoring the progress of treatment. A whitening gel containing a bleaching agent is applied directly onto the surface of the teeth. Teeth whitening in the dental office enable the dentist use more powerful whitening gels. A mouth guard fashioned from an impression of the teeth is used to protect the mouth prior to the application of the whitening gel.

Whitening gels containing a buffer allow the gel to be left for longer periods as the buffer serves as protection for the enamel of the teeth. This reduces the number of visits to the dental office before the treatment is completed. Recent advances in dental technology have introduced the use of laser techniques for teeth whitening. Laser expedites the whitening process by activating the gel in a process known as power whitening.

Teeth whitening at the dental office may require up to three or more appointments before the treatment is completed, depending on the severity of staining and how white the individual wants the teeth to be.

Teeth whitening can also be done at home with guidance and support from the dentist. This sometimes reduces the number of dental visits for whitening. The dentist supplies a custom mouthpiece that fits snugly, enabling the whitening agent remain in contact with the teeth. The mouthpiece if filled with the whitening gel and it is worn for several hours every day until the desired degree of whitening is achieved.