• Dr Mohamed Tarek Galal

Teeth Whitening: Know how to get those pearly whites easily

Everybody wants a whiter smile. Even if you have a pretty set of pearly whites, you would think “I could make them whiter”.

You may notice your teeth getting darker or more yellow with time. That is a normal aging process where old teeth are generally yellower than younger teeth, in addition to years of coffee, tea and smoking certainly take a toll on your teeth.

Fortunately, the solution is fairly simple, and right at your finger tips .. That is bleaching or whitening.

The process of whitening is very simple. Chemical agents such as hydrogen peroxide either in the form of gels or liquids, placed on your teeth for a specific period of time, serves to open up the pores in your teeth, and clear away all the stains and deposits.

There are generally two major types of bleaching: Home bleaching, and in office bleaching at the hands of a dental professional.

Home bleaching is easy, and can be done on your own time, their only disadvantage is time, since it takes more than a few days to achieve a good result. They come in a variety of forms, such as strips, gels and whitening toothpastes. The choice is yours.

In office bleaching is a different story. Here is how it works:

Before & After Whitening

1. Analysis and precautions: First and foremost, we have to determine that you are a candidate for bleaching. The stains must be external not deep seated, and your teeth must have sufficient strength to withstand the procedure. As an extra precaution, we advise you to use a high fluoride containing tooth paste and mouth wash for at least 1 week before the procedure. This helps to control the sensitivity afterwards.

2. Isolation: Everything that is not teeth is covered, meaning the gums, the tongue, the cheek and the lips. A protective layer is applied to the gums and cotton and gauze is used to protect the other structures, as the bleaching gels are quite caustic to them.

3. Application of the bleaching gel: Most commercial bleaching kits use 35-45% Hydrogen peroxide concentration. This concentration yields the most significant results with the least possible complications and side effects.

4. Activation: the applied gel is then activated and the process starts. The gel is activated either by another gel (this is called chemical bleaching) or with a strong blue LED light (This is called light bleaching) or by laser (this is called laser bleaching). This procedure of gel application and activation is repeated 3 or 4 times, and each session lasts about 15 minutes.

5. Protection: The final step is application of Fluoride, which serves to close the pores and protect your teeth from harm. Expect to have mild to moderate sensitivity to cold food and drinks.

The question that springs to mind is “Is this process harmful ?”

The procedure involves removing the outer layer that contains all the stains, and opening the pores of the teeth so that the whitening gel could penetrate as deep as it could. While it sounds quite aggressive, with proper care, it really isn’t. The fluoride application and use of fluoridated tooth paste and mouth wash makes the side effects and sensitivity minimal.

That being said, consider that this procedure should not be repeated multiple times, so our advice to you is choose the time when you need it the most, either before your wedding or before you take that lovely graduation photo.

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