For many patients, teeth whitening is a common procedure. Your dentist will use a tooth whitening shade guide to help you find the right colour for your smile, whether you want to whiten your teeth for a special occasion or as part of your regular oral care routine. Our Warman dentists explain in this post.
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that is safe (in most instances) for people who have stained or discoloured teeth.
Teeth darken naturally over time as a result of a variety of lifestyle factors such as diet and tobacco use. Professional teeth whitening may not be able to completely restore your teeth's original colour, but 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. Even a two- or three-shade difference can make a significant difference in the appearance of almost anyone's smile.
How Teeth Whitening Works
In most whitening preparations, hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient. The whitening effect is caused by the breakdown of the active ingredient and the action of oxygen on the tooth enamel. For patients, the majority of dental offices offer both in-office and take-home treatment options.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is only available 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 has been custom-made for you. Your dentist will use a dental laser to activate the solution once it has been applied to your teeth.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening
A custom-made at-home teeth whitening kit created by your dentist is also an option. You will be fitted for custom-made whitening trays to keep the whitening solution in place 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 whitening. This is due to the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide used. Treatments in the office can contain up to 43% hydrogen peroxide. This is because the dentist is present and can regulate the amount and application of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used in at-home treatments at a concentration of around 5%. While this means the treatment will take longer, there will be fewer risks if you make an error during treatment. Remember that the lower hydrogen peroxide concentration is for your safety.