- There are virtually no side effects to whitening if done properly in a relatively healthy and well-maintained dentition
- The amount of whitening that a patient will achieve depends on the type of discolouration
- In a world where we are judged by our appearances, white teeth convey health, wealth, youthfulness and education
Legendary author Dr. Seuss enlightened us when he said, “Teeth are always in style.” However it may not feel that way when your pearly whites are starting to look more like dingy daggers.
If you’ve tried at-home whitening kits, your interest in a brighter smile isn’t something new. But if you’re seeking more than what you can get off the shelf, professional whitening is a procedure becoming more popular and trustworthy, and an easier, more efficient way to get the smile you want.
“The general patient concern is whether the procedure will be painful, harm the gums, if the whitening will work, and how long it will last,” said Dr. Lily Lo, dentist at Lawrence Avenue Dental. “There are virtually no side effects to whitening if done properly in a relatively healthy and well-maintained dentition. The amount of whitening that a patient will achieve depends on the type of discolouration (whether extrinsic, intrinsic, Tetracycline stained), [the] patient’s dietary habits (smoker, coffee, wine), and the age of the patient, as well as [the] presence of bonding or old restorations.”
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Dr. Lo stated that an in-office dental whitening system is a simple 15-minute application of a bleaching solution activated by a blue light. It’s quick, easy to tolerate and does not cause excessive sensitivity on the teeth, even in patients who claim to have very sensitive teeth.
In most cases, depending on the patient’s existing shade, Dr. Lo expects to see teeth whiten up to six shades. Side effects include transient gingival irritation by the hydrogen peroxide if in contact for a period of time, and small blisters and some sloughing can occur but will heal within three to five days.
Although Dr. Lo still offers the take-home whitening with custom bleaching trays, she said busy people have no time or motivation to conduct this nightly procedure, and it also causes temporary pain to patients with sensitive teeth, leading her to be in favour of the in-office procedure. With an average age range of working women between 25 to 50 years old, she also stated that more and more teens are getting whitening done after orthodontic work.
But it’s no surprise that women seek this work, especially when it can create a beautiful, more healthy- looking smile.
“Whiter teeth definitely enhances our smile,” said Dr. Lo. “In a world where we are judged by our appearances, white teeth convey health, wealth, youthfulness and education. It plays a part in our overall attractiveness, which in turn gives us confidence in our social interactions at work and in our personal lives. Having whiter teeth may be more important than you think.”
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