Scarborough/Markham Teeth Whitening
Our office offers patients at-home and in-office options for whitening your teeth. An in-office whitening procedure usually takes up to an hour and a half. We listen to our patients, discuss their options and perform the whitening procedure as per their preference of the color shade. Photos and shade comparisons are performed before and after the session.
At-home whitening procedures involve the fabrication of a customized whitening tray that fits your teeth perfectly. Whitening gel is applied every day to the tray and used on your teeth, depending on the concentration of the agents and the severity of your tooth discolouration. A comprehensive pre-whitening assessment is a MUST to determine the treatment period and to ensure its success.
For maximum results, we recommend a combination of in-office and at-home procedures.
The 5 Most Critical Things You Need To Know About Teeth Whitening
#1 What Teeth Whitening Really Is
Whitening teeth is something your dentist does all the time. You just may not realize it. Whenever you visit your dentist to have your teeth cleaned, you leave with teeth that are at least a little bit whiter than they were when you arrived. While you sit here in the chair, your dentist or hygienist is busy removing all the plaque that has build up since your last visit. Once teeth are cared for and flossed they are cleaner and therefore, whiter.
It’s just like what happens when you wash and polish your car. You don’t repaint it. You simply remove the layer of dirt and add polish and those actions make your car look brighter.
The teeth whiteners you see advertised though are different. This type of whitening process is not part of routine dental care. It is a separate procedure that is done either in a dentist’s office or at home. The process uses bleaching agents to lighten tooth color by as few as two to as many as nine shades.
If you’ve ever splashed bleach on coloured clothes or gone from being a brunette to a brunette to a blond, you know that bleach strips away colour. And that’s what it does when applied to your teeth. The key ingredient in teeth whiteners is hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent. When applied, the bleaching agent permeates the tiny holes in the tooth’s enamel. When stains on teeth come into contact with the bleaching agent they are, over a period of time, decolourized or stripped of their colour. As the darker-coloured stains are lightened, teeth taken on the appearance of being whiter. All teeth whitening products work in a similar way.
But because the term “bleaching” sounds so harsh the term “whitening” is used instead. Think about it. Would you rather have your teeth bleached or would you rather have them whitened? Most people wouldn’t want their teeth bleached. But hardly anyone would object to having their teeth whitened. So whitening became a better word to use to help market this type of dental service. The strength of the bleaching agent used on teeth depends on whether it’s an “at home” whitening produce or on that is designed for professional use. More on the differences later.
#2 Are You a Good Candidate?
Before you decide whether teeth whitening is right for you, you need to know you’re a good candidate. Not everyone is and the reasons why may surprise you.
Stains on teeth appear for lots of different reasons. They could be caused by age, diet, lifestyle, and even certain medications. But more importantly, stains can be limited to the surface of the tooth enamel, or they can go deeper and penetrate tooth enamel tissue.
The teeth whitening process generally produces the most satisfactory results on surface stains caused by age, consumption of stain-including food and beverages (cola, coffee, tea and blueberries), and smoking. Deeper stains that affect tooth tissues, such as those caused by tetracycline or fluorosis, may not respond as well to the whitening process but it will take much longer.
Something else you need to consider is previous dental work. Crowns, veneers, and caps don’t respond to teeth whiteners. That’s because most materials used to cover teeth, like porcelain and metal, are impermeable. When applied, the bleaching agents in teeth whiteners are not able to penetrate the manufactured tooth surface, making them mostly ineffective.
But that’s not all. Since the colour of a crown, cap or veneer is usually matched to the colour (or shade) of existing teeth, teeth whitening will produce noticeable differences in the shade of the teeth without dental work. In other words, the patient’s teeth will lighten but any teeth with existing dental work likely will not.
If you have tooth decay or gum disease, you may not be a good candidate for teeth whitening. If you are hypersensitive, you may not be a good candidate either as you may feel excessive discomfort during treatment.
Finally, while studies show that teeth whitening products are safe when used as directed, it is important to note that the effects on pregnant and nursing women of ingesting teeth whiteners have not been fully studied. So as a precaution, nursing and pregnant women are advised to refrain from the procedure until pregnancy and nursing have ended.
Now that you know what the teeth whitening process involves and you have an idea whether or not you’re a good candidate, the next thing to figure out is whether you think it’s something you can do yourself.
#3 In-Office Teeth Whitening
If you’re the type of person who prefers immediate results, consider having a professional do the work. Also consider having a procedure if you have a condition that requires close monitoring such as receding gums.
Dentists use whitening products that have higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, the primary bleaching agent. Because they’re more concentrated, many of these products produce noticeable result after just one session. But the higher concentrations also make these whiteners harsher which increases the risk of harming delicate gum tissue and teeth.
That’s why professional-grade teeth whiteners should never be used by anyone who hasn’t first received proper training. Professionals know how to take appropriate precautions against such harm so that you get the results you expect without experiencing any adverse affects.
When you have the whitening procedure performed in a dentist’s office, the dentist likely will apply a solution directly to your teeth for about 45 minutes and they may or may not use a light source. Some dentists add light to the whitening process as they believe that doing so helps teeth whiten even faster.
The only real drawback to having teeth whitened by a professional is the cost. You’re taking up more of the dentist’s time and for that, you’ll have to pay. Teeth whitening done in a dentist’s office can cost upwards of several hundred dollars or more for three 45-minutes sessions. Check to see if they have affordable financing. Just understand that because it likely will be considered a cosmetic procedure, your dental insurance may not cover teeth whitening. So be sure to check first.
#4 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Teeth Whitening
The biggest advantage of the DIY or “do it yourself” method is, without a doubt, convenience. When you whiten your teeth on your own, you do it according to the schedule that works best for you. There aren’t any appointments to make and no time is wasted waiting for the dentist. But you will have to wait longer to see results.
There are two types: 1) Dental office tray whitening and 2) Store bought whitening For dental office tray whitening, your dentist must first create custom trays for holding the teeth whitener gel or paste. The tray will conform to your teeth and help keep the whitener in place which you use on your own at home at your convenience. The tray also helps keep saliva from diluting the whitener.
The tray system tends to have slightly less concentration of bleaching agents than the in-office whitening but still require the professional’s analysis. Because of the higher concentration than store bought kits, it will whiten your teeth faster and better, but cost a little more.
For store bought whitening kits, there is no professional oversight, so they have a low concentration of bleaching agents. Because of this, at-home whiteners do not work as fast. Instead of seeing results after the first application, when you whiten your teeth at home you may have to undergo several applications before you notice any lightening of your teeth. You may even have to wait several weeks before your teeth lighten to the desired shade. If your teeth are whitened at all.
Also, the store bought one in more flimsy and do not whitening all your teeth at the same time.
If you decide you go the DIY route, you’ll find teeth whitening products designed for daytime and nighttime use. Just choose whichever is more convenient. Some brands include choose whichever is more convenient. Some brands include trays for helping to keep the whitener closer to the surface of your teeth. Other brands use strips to keep the whitener in place. There are even pen-like applicators that allow you to “paint” whiteners onto the surfaces you want whitened.
If you do choose to do it yourself, the most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly. Doing so is the only way to lower your risk of damage and achieve the results you desire.
#5 The Light Controversy
The latest research has shown the use of light in whitening procedures may or may not actually improve the effectiveness of the whitening process. Many manufacturers still maintain that the heat from light helps increase the efficiency of their teeth whiteners. That’s why you’ll see some advertisements showing a beam of light focused on a patient’s open mouth.
Light enhanced teeth whitening processes can cause burns to sensitive tissues. That’s why most teeth whitening systems that incorporate light are available only through your dentist.