For many patients, teeth whitening is a common procedure. If you want to whiten your teeth for a special occasion or to incorporate teeth whitening into your oral care routine, your dentist will use a tooth whitening shade guide to help you find the right colour for your smile. Our Edmonton dentists explain in detail.
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that is safe (in most instances) for people who have stained or discoloured teeth.
Teeth naturally darken over time as a result of a variety of lifestyle factors, including diet and tobacco use. While professional teeth whitening may not be able to restore your teeth's original colour, it may be able to lighten them and brighten your smile.
Teeth Whitening Shade Assessment
Before beginning the teeth whitening procedure, your dentist will evaluate the shade of your smile with the help of a shade guide.
To use this guide, your dentist will first match the current colour of your teeth to the corresponding colour on the chart, and then determine which shade you want it to be. A difference of only two or three shades can dramatically alter the appearance of almost anyone's smile.
How Teeth Whitening Works
In most whitening preparations, the active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide. The whitening effect is caused by the action of oxygen on the tooth enamel, as well as the breakdown of the active ingredient. The majority of dental offices offer patients both in-office and take-home treatment options.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening must be performed at your dentist's office. Your dentist will place a protective shield over your teeth and gums to protect them from the whitening solution. The solution will then be applied to your teeth using a mouth guard-like tray that is custom-made for you. After applying the solution to your teeth, your dentist will activate it with a dental laser.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening
A custom-made at-home teeth whitening kit designed by your dentist is also an option. You will be fitted for custom-made whitening trays to keep the whitening solution on your teeth. You can even sleep with them in place for maximum exposure time.
Keep in mind that at-home teeth whitening usually takes longer than in-office treatment. This is because of the amount of hydrogen peroxide used. In-office treatments can contain up to 43% hydrogen peroxide. This is because the dentist is present and has control over the amount of hydrogen peroxide used and how it is used.
Take-home treatments typically contain around 5% hydrogen peroxide. While this means the treatment will take longer, there is less risk if you make an error during treatment. Remember that the lower the amount of hydrogen peroxide, the better.