Over the years, teeth lose the natural color that makes a smile so attractive, but darkening or staining can also be caused for other reasons. For most cases, the best solution is whitening, a simple technique that can be carried out in the dental surgery or at home, under the supervision of a specialist.
The surface of the tooth is not a uniform color. Its tones vary from one part of the tooth to another, with the part closest to the gum typically being a darker tone than the rest of the tooth.
Although we call this treatment "tooth whitening", it is in fact not the most accurate term for it, as what really takes place is a lightening of the color of the enamel. The result is whiter teeth that preserve the tonal variances within each tooth.
It is not required
It is not required
This technique can be carried out at the specialist´s surgery or at home. In-surgery bleaching is faster than at home, usually requiring one or two visits of 40 to 60 minutes per session. Depending on the state of the teeth, sometimes the effect achieved at the surgery is reinforced with further treatment at home.
In-surgery whitening involves a three-step process to clarify the color of the enamel: protection of the gum area that borders the tooth; application of the whitening substance; and activation of the whitening process. Once he has protected the gums and lips, the specialist spreads a concentrated whitening solution over the teeth and the solution is then activated in one of several ways, depending on the type of whitening.
For home whitening, a plastic mould is created that fits snugly to the teeth that are to be whitened. This mould is filled with a bleaching solution and placed on the teeth for a certain amount of time as specified by the dentist. The length of time will vary according to the concentration of the solution and the type of whitening selected. The process is repeated daily with the final results visible in two to three weeks.
Tooth whitening is carried out as an outpatient procedure, i.e. without being admitted.
Tooth whitening is a painless procedure and so requires no anaesthetic.
Cleaning by an oral hygienist is imperative before bleaching.
After whitening, you should take precautions to prevent any staining or darkening of the teeth. If the procedure is being carried out at home using a dental mould, you should refrain from eating or drinking foods such as coffee, tea red wine etc. that can stain your teeth. Also avoid smoking. After completion, it is advisable to minimize your consumption of these products to prevent staining and to maintain the effects of the whitening treatment for as long as possible. If you do eat or drink these types of products or if you smoke, make an effort to brush your teeth well straight after.
If the whitening treatment is carried out in the dentist’s surgery, these foods along with tobacco will be forbidden for the next 24 hours.
Tooth sensitivity often appears during the first two or three days after treatment but it will subside.
No. There are different types of tooth discolouration and there are some cases in which it may not be possible to obtain the desired effect (such as tetracycline staining), so it is essential to have a specialist assessment. Nevertheless, your teeth will always achieve a lighter colour than before the whitening took place.
It lasts for two to five years depending on the type of whitening and your own habits. After this time, you may wish to undergo treatment again.
Do not smoke and try to avoid stain-inducing foods (coffee, tea, red wine). If you do consume them try to brush straight afterwards.